Singh, the Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region said, "Potential in North East is very high as it is already an organic hub by default. However, farmers here do not know what organic is. If we work on it, NE can become the largest producer of organic foods in the world."

"Food processing and cold chain storage is of utmost importance to NE," Singh said, adding that 40 percent of food in the country was wasted due to lack of storage facilities.

He emphasized on the need to establish cold chain storage facilities, which would be beneficial to both farmers and consumers.
    
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary to the Ministry of Food Processing Siraj Hussain spoke about giving government support in creating cold storage units in North East.

"Return in this business is very low. Power availability in NE is a problem. So at least for next five years, government support is needed," he said.

According to a study in 2010, the gap of such facilities stood at 30 million tonne, while the country could add only 10 million tonne in 10 years, Hussain said.

He urged Singh to increase the current limit of Rs 10 crore grants given to an individual creating such a facility. Hussain also requested that the grant given for building non-horticulture cold storage given by state governments, be raised from the existing Rs 4-5 crore.

(Agencies)

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