Stage set for Agro Business Synergy in North Bengal

Gautam Deb, Rabindranath Ghosh, senior Govt officials to address meet
Report by: 
Prashant Acharya
SILIGURI
17 May 2017

In a bid to give an impetus to farm and farm-based industries in North Bengal and significantly widen markets for entrepreneurs, the Department of Industry, Commerce and Enterprises (IC&E) in collaboration with the Departments of Agriculture, Agri Marketing, Food Processing & Horticulture, Animal Resource Development, Food & Supplies, Fisheries, Biotechnology, North Bengal Development Department and Siliguri-Jalpaiguri Development Authority (SJDA) will partner CII & Food and Agriculture Centre of Excellence (FACE) to organize Agro business Synergy – Focus North Bengal on 18-19 May 2017 here.
The Inauguration of this showpiece event, which is scheduled for 18 May at 4 pm, will not only feature two state ministers – Gautam Deb and Mr Rabindranath Ghosh – but will also be attended and addressed by Rajiva Sinha, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of IC&E, West Bengal; Mr Sanjeev Chopra, Additional Chief Secretary, Dept of  Agriculture, West Bengal, Pradip Mazumdar, Adviser to the Chief Minister of West Bengal on Agriculture and Allied Sectors; Barun Ray, Principal Secretary, Department of North Bengal Development, B P Gopalika, Principal Secretary, Animal Resources Development; Ms Nandini Chakrabarty, Secretary, Food Processing & Horticulture; Sunil Kumar Gupta, Principal Secretary, Fishery, Vivek Kumar, Principal Secretary, Bio Technology; Depap Priya, CEO, SJDA, DIC; and eight District Magistrates.
“North Bengal shares borders with Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. That’s reason why CII is trying to make sure the produces and products reach the markets of these countries. South East Asian countries and the Middle East are also on the radar. We expect some 1,000-plus potential investors,” Smita Pandit Chakraborty, Chairperson, CII West Bengal, said in a statement.
“Some highlights of the Agro Business Synergy – Focus North Bengal are individual Help Desks for the eight North Bengal districts, and Financial Service Help Desks to be set up by SBI, Central Bank, NABARD, and West Bengal Financial Corporation (WBFC),” said Mr Rajiv Lochan, Chairman, CII North Bengal Zonal Council.
“These apart, there will be Sector-specific Help Desks for Food Processing & Horticulture, Fisheries, Agriculture, Floriculture, Bio Technology, Tea, Meat and Poultry, MSME Technology Facilitation Centre including help desk for 8 district,” he added. “In the past few weeks, CII Teams reached out to chambers of commerce, trade associations, and also entrepreneurs based of the eight districts,” Lochan said, adding that there will also be experts on paddy processing, maize, cold chain, etc.
“Since many areas in North Bengal are inherently organic, the crops grown here can attract those who look for niche stuff, in India as well as abroad. The region is also suitable for rearing livestock, poultry and pisciculture,” he said.
North Bengal, which comprises 8 districts in North Bengal, has diverse agro-climatic conditions – something which is a great advantage for growing a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, flowers, cash crops and plantation crops. Some of the important crops grown here are mango, pineapple, tomato, litchi, large cardamom, mandarin orange, aromatic rice varieties (notably tulaipanjii and kataribhog), floriculture, orchid and medicinal plants like cinchona.
Anand Kumar Mittal, Vice Chairman, CII North Bengal Zonal Council, saw a bright future for the saying region set for a turnaround. “Already, there are food parks in Siliguri and Malda, block-level Krishak Bazars, and a Pineapple Development Centre in Siliguri. A Biotechnology hub is in the pipeline in Kalimpong. Investors can also benefit from a number of Central as well as State Government schemes and programmes,” Mittal added.