Bhubaneswar:The Odisha agriculture and famrers’ empowerment, fisheries & animal resources development minister, Pradeep Maharathy, Tuesday urged the investors to explore the opportunities in the agriculture sector in the state for their investments.

Inaugurating the Krushi Odisha, a national level investors summit, Maharathy said, ” It is high time that the investors should look at the potential of the state agri-scetor”

The four-day Krushi Odisha – Odisha Investor Summit: Session on Opportunities in Agriculture and Sea Food Processing Sector in Odisha is being jointly organized by Odisha’s Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). More than 10,000 farmers from across 30 districts in Odisha will join four-day Krushi Pathsala where experts from various agricultural domains will educate farmers in modern agricultural practices and provide hands-on training in how they can enhance cropping intensity and improve high-yielding varieties of seeds.

The minister released a Compendium of Investible Projects in Agriculture & Allied Sectors in Odisha on this occasion.

The chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, inaugurated a big exhibition of latest farm equipment on Tuesday evening.

Maharathy said that organic farming is being promoted in around 16000 acre through Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) in 10 districts. According to him Farm Information Advisory Centres have been established in every block to enhance the outreach of extension network. He also said, “MoU has been signed between APICOL and State Bank of India to improve credit linkage for agri enterprises in October, 2017.”

The state MSME minister, Prafulla Samal, said,  “The Odisha government  has come out with a number policies to give agriculture a big boost and make agriculture a source of sustainable livelihood for people.”

State agriculture principal secretary Dr Saurabh Garg said  the four-day Krushi Pathsala, Krushi Odisha will go a long way in encouraging farmers to embrace mechanization, diversify crops, increase productivity and enhance income and attract investments.

CII chairman Amarendra Dash said the need of the hour is to build a sustainable cold chain connecting farms to cities, and also to help small farmers develop entrepreneurial agri-businesses serving the growing urban middle class.

“You will be happy to note that the state government plans to set up 1264 more godowns across state with total storage capacity of 3.5 lakh metric tonne by 2020. The union food processing industries ministry has approved two Food Parks – and two cold chain projects in the state,” he said.

 The state agirculture director,  M Muthukumar, and regional director of CII East and North East, Nita Karmakar also addressed the inaugural session.

The panel disscussion on food processing and on farm processing was participated by state cooperation secretary Ranjana Chopra, PPL CEO VK Sinha, Milk Mantra CEO Srikumar Mishra, and business head of Mother Diary Fruits & Vegetables Pradipta Sahoo.

Similarlty the panel discussion on investment opportunity through private equity was participated by  Rabo Equity Advisors CMD Rajesh Srivastava, Nova Dhruva Capital CEO Sunil Sanghai,  NIIF CEO Sujoy Bose, and India Pvt. Equity & Venture Captial Association chairman Gopal Srinivasan.

The Summit also included with a panel discussion on sea food processing where the speakers were state fisheries director P K Senapati, MPEDA director marketing  T Dola Sankar, Seafood exporters’ association president Dr Kamlesh Mishra, director general of UCCI Rajen Padhi, and Hindustan Ports Ltd. MD & CEO  Rizwan Soomar

The ITC Ltd. general manager-industry affaris(agri-business division) PP Venkat Ram Reddy, said on the sideline of the meet, ITC is exploring possibilities of investments in organic farming and aqua cultivation in Odisha.