“We are concentrating on land acquisition in Jhansi district, which is the main town in Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh,” Patanjali Food & Herbal Park CEO Ravindra Kumar Chaudhary told Business Standard in Lucknow.
He informed the project would require 50-100 acres to set up the food park, which is proposed to be up and running by 2020. “The project would provide direct employment to about 500 people and generate thousands more in indirect job opportunities in the region.”
The park would mianly be using fresh farm produce from Bundelkhand in food processing, with a view to spurring economic growth in the region, he added.
Chaudhary was in town to participate in a road show, which is a prelude to the ‘World Food India 2017’ being organised by the union food processing industries ministry in consort with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in New Delhi during 3-5 November, 2017. Union minister of state (food processing) Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti also lauded Patanjali for its proposed project and exhorted other companies
to come forward in this regard.
Speaking on the occasion, UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath further urged the Centre to award at least four Mega Food Parks (MFP) projects to UP, one each for the different regions of Purvanchal (Eastern UP), Bundelkhand, Western UP and Bundelkhand.
He said farmers’ prosperity would remain a distant dream unless traditional farming was supplemented with modern technology.
Bundelkhand comprises Lalitpur, Jhansi, Jaluan, Hamirpur, Mahoba, Banda and Chitrakoot districts in UP. It also spans nearby districts of Madhya Pradesh. The dry zone characterised by successive droughts, sub-optimal rainfall, barren swatches of land and low agricultural production, which has over decades resulted in large scale migration of people to other places for employment.
In this context, the government wants to arrest this migration by speeding up economic growth and investment. The arid zone of Bundelkhand is considered favourable for the plantation of medicinal and aromatic plants, which require lesser amount of water.
During the previous Akhilesh Yadav regime, Ramdev had evinced interest in investing in Bundelkhand for cultivating medicinal herbs and plants, which could then be used to produce herbal consumer products under the Patanjali brand.
In May 2016, Ramdev had even met Yadav in Lucknow and sought assistance in identifying suitable land for a dedicated plantation hub for Patanjali. He had also expressed desire to investing in Bundelkhand to grow Ayurvedic plants such as Aloe Vera, apart from other vegetables and fruits, besides dairy products.