Global agri meet on December 1, 2

Govt expects Rs 51,727 crore private investment into the sector

Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda on Friday said Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar will inaugurate the summit during which domestic and several multinational companies from the Netherlands, France, Australia and Israel are expected to participate.

An estimated Rs 51,727 crore of private investment is likely to flow and the food processing sector alone may attract about Rs 36,000-crore investment, he said.
Other potential sectors are: upgrading existing facilities, internal support facilities for agriculture business, product branding and post-harvest facilities.

As many as 40 companies have agreed to sign memorandums of understanding during the summit, which is estimated to cost Rs 20 crore for the government, he said. An estimated 40,000 acre of land is required for the proposed investments and about 10,000 acre is already available with the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board, he said.

“The government will offer revenue lands available with it to the investors, if required,” he said. However, huge tracts of farm lands would not be acquired for the purpose, the chief minister said.

A special purpose vehicle – Karnataka Agri-Business Development Board – has been set up to co-ordinate agri-business investments in the State, the chief minister said.

The summit, aimed at making agriculture a profitable venture for farmers, was scheduled to be held in 2010, soon after the Global Investors Meet. It was postponed many times due to frequent political upheavals in the State.

Investors would not be allowed to carry out tests of genetically modified crops in the name of agri-business as the government is against the Centre’s Biotechnology Regulatory Authority Bill, he said.

Farmers’ associations fear that the multinational companies would get permission through the single window system and the State government would lose control over the farm sector, if the Bill is passed, he said.

The chief minister claimed that the number of farmers’ suicide has come down over the past five years. As many as 342 farmers ended lives in 2007-08; 337 in 08-09; 290 in 2009-10; 242 in 2010-11 and 79 in 2011-12 (till November 15), he said.

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