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Agro Industries
Food Processing  
Profile & Performance  
In food and agro processing sector West Bengal is one of the three front running states in India. Agriculture contributes 30% in the SDP and employs 57% of the workforce. Fruits, vegetables and cereals grow in abundance in West Bengal. The state accounts for 30% of potatoes, 27% of pineapples, 12% of bananas and 16% of India’s rice production. Additionally fruits like mangoes, papays, guava and jackfruit and vegetables like tomatoes, cauliflowers, cabbage, brinjal, pumpkin, are available in plenty.
Largest producer of rice, pineapple, vegetables and fruits in the country.
Second largest producer of potatoes and lychees.
Ranks 1st in total meat production (including poultry) in the country.
Accounts for 10% of the country’s edible oil production.
Substantial producer of spices, coconut, cashew nut, arecanut, betel vine and oilseeds.
West Bengal is also one of the leading states in pisciculture. Fish plays a major role in the Bengali client. The state has been awarded the 1st prize for 8 consecutive years for its achievements in the fishery sector. Some of the highlights are:
Largest producer of fish in the country.
Also the largest supplier of fish and supplies nearly 80% of the carp seed demand of the country.
Highest producer of shrimps.
Produces significant amount of fresh water fish.
Some of the key entrepreneurs in this industry n the State are:
Ascon Agro PE & B Pvt. Ltd. a Pailan Group company who have entered into a joint venture with AFT/PB Counseil of France for setting up a food processing unit in Dhaniakhali, Hggghly to produce potato flakes.
Dabur Limited has set up a food processing unit in North Bengal
Frito-Lay a division of PepsiCo has set up a potato processing unit in Howrah.
Companies like Unilever and Nestle have expressed interest to set up food processing units in the state.
Arambagh Hatcheries was set up in 1975 and has grown by over 30% per year marketing poultry products and has also ventured into a chain of mini supermarkets selling groceries to cold meat and ready-to-cook food items.
Some of the other notable projects in this area
MP Glychem Industries Ltd. (Haldia)
Haldia Vegetable Oil and Foods (Haldia)
Hooghly Mills Project (Durgapore)
Kanchan Oil Industries
Policies & Plans
Agro & Food Processing Industries form a very important part of the State’s economy. The West Bengal Government is setting up a number of policies & plans to focus on the selected areas like vegetables, fruits, fisheries, rice, poultry, dairy & floriculture.
The major thrust areas of the policy are:
Increase agricultural production & productivity vertically through wider adoption of appropriate eco-system-specific & cost effective technology.
Bring more area under High Yielding Variety (HYV), hybrid & improved varieties of crops.
Emphasize increase production of pulses & oil seeds in non-traditional areas & non-conventional seasons.
Create employment opportunities in this sector to improve the socio-economic status of the farmers & also to remove sub-regional disparity.
Extending soil-testing facilities up to district level for proper use of fertilizer.
Post-harvest technology for reducing loss & better marketability.
Bring cultivable waste land & fallow land under cultivation.
Application of low cost technology for increasing production & productivity.
More money involvement in agriculture.
Encourage private entrepreneurship for processing of fruits, vegetables & horticultural items.
Promote floriculture parks & flower complexes in the state.
Other Business Process, knowledge Process and Engineering Process Outsourcing services
The State Government is encouraging the farmers for mechanization through the use of modern agricultural implements & machines for timely farm operation & reduction in the cost of cultivation.
Products & Services (Illustrative List)
The state has made commendable progress in the Horticultural sector, and the agri business has been identified as a key area for sustainable economic growth. There is a whole range of business opportunities for entrepreneurs:
Pre-Harvest Sector
Production of Hybrid seeds and planting materials
High tech horticulture tissue culture
Export oriented horticulture estates in organic farming
Green house production
Medicinal & aromatic plants
Processing Sector
A. Fruits and Vegetable processing
Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
Pulp / concentrates from Mango, Banana, Papays, Tomato, Guava, Pineapple and Litchi.
Potato granules / flakes
Dehydrated potato cubes and slices
Aseptic banana puree
Tomato paste
Canned fruits and vegetables
Dehydrated fruits and vegetables
Candid and crystallized fruits
Button mushroom cultivation and processing
B. Processed food
Snack Food
Fast food
Instant rice / pulses
C. Poultry and Meat processing
Meat Processing
Integrated poultry hatching, farming and processing
D. Fish processing
Frozen and Dehydrated fish
Fish Products
E. Dairy
Integrated Dairy farming and milk processing toned milk, milk protein isolate, cheese, casein, butter, etc.
F. Rice Bran Oil, Spice Oils and Oleoresins
G. Support services and Infrastructure such as
Cold Chain / Marketing Centre
Cold chain facilities for preservation of fruits, vegetables and flowers
Efficient post-harvest handling system right from farm to retail marketing
Setting up of pre-cooling facilities, refrigerated transport system and refrigerated retails outlets
Marketing with storage facilities at controlled and modified atmosphere
Modern Slaughter house
Modern harbour, mechanized boats and trawlers for marine fishery sector.
H. Food Park
Food processing industrial estate with common facilities like multipurpose cold storage, effluent treatment plant, quality control laboratory, packaging centre, warehouse, water supply, power supply, sewerage, etc.
I. Packaging Material & Machinery
PP & PET thermoformed containers and packaging machinery
Light weight glass container
Co-extruded bottles
Thin walled aluminum container
Bio-degradable / degradable packaging materials
Modified atmosphere packaging
Controlled atmosphere packaging
Aseptic packaging machinery for rigid bottless and semi rigid container; flexible system (pouch).
Flexible packaging materials with different types of good laminates
Vacuum packaging and glass flushing (Nitrogen & carbon dioxide) machine
Retort packaging system (Retortable packaging materials and machinery)
Metal container (OTS cans)
Canning machinery
Floriculture including ornamental plant production is an emerging industry in West Bengal with very high prospects. The state produces around 58,000 tonnes of flowers every year and has more than 10,000 acres of land devoted for that purpose.
Major flowers produced in the state are:
Flowers in West Bengal are mainly grown in places like, Kalimpong, Panskura, Ranaghat, Thakurnagar, Bagnan and also other places around the state. West Bengal with its excellent logistics, research and extension support in floriculture trade has got huge potential to capture the booming export markets of Europe and Japan.
The countries which imports flowers from West Bengal
Middle East (mainly Sharjah)
The state government has undertaken several initiatives to boost this sector :
The State has set up a floriculture park at Mungpoo in North Bengal, which will provide common infrastructure to the entrepreneurs. It will have cold storage facilities, grading / packaging room, tissue culture lab and refrigerated vans to collect flowers and then transport it.
A mega flower mart in Mullickghat, Kolkata, is being set up at a cost of Rs 250 million with dedicated flower stalls, state-of-the-art cold chain infrastructure for preserving flowers and also plush stalls offering handicrafts and other ethnic treasures.
There is comprehensive multi-storied flower market with facilities for cold storage at Panskura build at cost of more than US$ 1 million.
The Department of Food Processing Industries and Horticulture, at Ranaghat, have developed a market complex
Another floriculture park is being developed at Jagulia near Haringhata in Nadia district which will have tow separate pack houses, one for flowers and one for vegetables, one exclusive nursery, and a commercial seed production farm.
The government has recently received a US$ 33 million proposal for setting up an open air floriculture pack on 200 acres mainly to cultivate roses at Rajarhat, Kolkata.
West Bengal is the second largest tea growing state in the countryl contributing almost 21% of the total production in the country. There are three tea-growing zones in the state.
Darjeeling ta is considered to be the finest in the world. There are 343 tea gardns in West Bengal covering 1,03,950 hectares planted area.
Production of tea in West Bengal (‘000 Kgs)
District 2005 (E) 2004 2003
Darjeeling 11,366 10,065 9,582
Terai 70,240 69,239 59,786
Dooars 1,33,054 1,35,237 1,31,267
Total 2,14.660 2,14,541 2,00,635
Source: Directorate of Industries, GoWB, 2006
Some of the major player sin the Tea industry in West Bengal include Tata Tea Ltd, a US$ 178 million company which has a joint venture with UK based James Finlay & Company. Both of them together representing the world’s second largest global branded tea operations with product and brand presence in over 50 countries. Goodricke Group Ltd. (GGL) a part of the UK-based Cammelia Plc, the world’s single largest tea producer in the private sector. In India it is the third largest tea producer and the leading producer of Darjeeling tea. It has 30 gardens spread over 15,766 hectares. Williamoson Magor Group established in 1868 producing around 5 million tones of tea from its tea estate in Dooars; Duncan Group, which has 13 tea estates located in the Doors, Terai and Darjeeling, and who have recently started a concept of “branded loose tea retailing” to sell tea from their outlets.
© 2006, WBIDC
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