Kochi: Many business ventures are gaining foothold in number of industrial parks and there is absolutely no dearth of investors. One sector that is here to stay in Kerala is the food processing industry. The food processing segment in the state is robust as many products such as curry powder, pickles and squash of kudumbashree units, and other related branded commodities are capturing the foreign markets with élan.
The food parks of Kinfra (Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation) are filling to the brim at a fast pace. As many as 2,712 food processing units were opened in the last fiscal (2018-19), and close to 13,796 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) were put in place till now in this sector, which logs a yearly growth of 20 percent.
The products that are in the forefront are grain grinding machines, bakery items, beverages, instant food, curry powder, and ready-to-eat items such as ‘porotta’, ‘sambar’ and traditional sweets. There are also units that have state-of-the-art plants producing ready-to-eat delicacies, which are frozen and exported to Gulf and European countries, the US and Australia. These kind of ultra-modern units are only increasing. There also manufacturing centres that have the stamp of approval of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The investors have great faith in the food processing industry, like tourism, and investments are flowing into this sector. Majority of the workers in these food processing units are women, and the labour disputes are few and far between in this segment. If the delicacies are tasty, they could be sold through local bakeries, general stores and super markets.
How to start a food processing unit
You can avail bank loans and subsidies to start a food processing unit. The unit can get online MSME registration, including the company name, within minutes and for more details check udyogaadhar.gov.in. The next step is to obtain requisite licences and applications can be forwarded through KSWIFT portal or district industrial centers. Licences from panchayat, Pollution Control Board, Fire and Rescue, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, and Department of Legal Metrology are mandatory to start a food processing unit. The panchayat/corporation licence is not needed if the unit is opened in a Kinfra food park.
Banks will disburse loans up to Rs 25 lakhs and subsidies could be availed through Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP). The entrepreneur can also get loans up to Rs 1 crore for the second phase and related subsidies after 3 years of business operations. Contact the district industrial centers concerned to know more about other schemes relating to starting a food processing unit.