Punjab agro policy to boost marketing
VALUE-added agro produce from Punjab will now get better display on retail shelves as the new agro industrial policy being formulated will give impetus to marketing channels. The proposed new agro industrial policy will be a separate document but may be a part of the new industrial policy, being prepared with the assistance of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). The new policy is expected to be out in December 2007. So far, Punjab has been focussing on marketing basic agricultural commodities. There has been little or no attention on marketing of value-added agro produce. Now, with major players dabbling in farm-to-fork initiative, the Badal government is coming out with a separate agro industrial policy to remove bottlenecks and attract maximum investments in the agro processing sector. The proposed new agro policy, said Punjab chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh, here today would definitely give the necessary fillip to the marketing of agri produce. The agro industrial policy will lay emphasis on the growth of the agro processing sector, contract farming and on development of requisite agro infrastructure. The proposed policy will take into account the current problems being faced by the industry so that the process of setting up new agro units in the state becomes hassle free. The Punjab Agro Industries Corporation (PAIC) will be the nodal agency for this purpose. The new policy will lay stress on the development of the border belt in the three districts of Ferozepur, Amritsar and Gurdaspur. The government feels that there is potential to increase the number of items under the bilateral trade with Pakistan.