A SPECIAL purpose vehicle (SPV) is going to be created by the State Cooperation department for marketing products from Milkfed and Markfed and also for setting up a food park in the state. Speaking to ET, Punjab Cooperation Minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh said the government was working on creating an apex body to go for processing and also marketing at corporate level.
“Work is on to form the SPV by the Cooperation department for both the marketing and the setting of a food park in the state. We have not named the company yet. The matter of corporate entity and the official licensee will be decided soon,” he said. According to him the SPV made sense, considering that the management and working would be unlike a government set up and would give competition to the upcoming retail chains.
The SPV would concentrate on marketing Milkfed brand ‘Verka’ and Markfed brand ‘ Sohna’ across the country. Currently, the Verka products (milk, paneer, dahi and desi ghee) are being sold across Punjab, Chandigarh, and parts of Shimla, Jammu and Haryana. Similarly, the Sohna products (basmati rice, refined mustard oil, vanaspati, pickles, squashes and canned products) are being sold across the country, but does require corporate management to expand further.
Also, the SPV would help in developing a agri-processing zone or a food park in Punjab, most likely in the doaba belt (Jallandhar, Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur), as it has to be a cluster approach, according to the Cooperation minister.
“The Union food processing industries ministry is in the process of finalising a project to set five food parks across the country. I have met Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Subodh Kant Sahay in New Delhi, who has assured me that Punjab would have one of the food parks,” he said.
He further said Markfed would soon advertise for recruitment of some retail experts.
According to sources, the SPV will have to get clearances from various departments, get the land bank, and ask for expression of interest from companies before running the project on a public-private partnership model. “A food park spanning across a radius of 100 km will require both a strong backward and forward linkage. The strong network of cooperative societies in Punjab makes our work easier,” a senior official of Markfed said.