Monday, November 23, 2009

Bihar Govt forms task force to woo investment in maize sector

PATNA: In an exercise to promote major investments in Bihar in the maize sector, a public-private initiative has been taken with formation of Maize

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and Poultry Task Force (MPTF) under Bihar Agricultural Competitiveness Partnership (ACP).

Director, agriculture, B Rajendra, said here that 11 potential investors from New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and other places interacted with 50 Bihari farmers at the Bihar Industries Association (BIA) meet recently.

The MPTF has formed five working groups to create enabling environment for investment in maize sector under public-private partnership with assistance of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a World Bank group, and support of the state government, he added.

Senior managers of IFC, Tom Davenport and Gokhan Akinci, attended the meet. Davenport stressed on committed support for wooing private investment in Bihar through potential co-investment and continued advisory support by the state government for implementing the "investment reform". Development commissioner Navin Kumar inaugurated the forum for creation of task force at the meeting chaired by S Vijayraghvan, investment advisor to chief minister Nitish Kumar.

Programme officer, investment climate division, World Bank Group, Samir Stewart told TOI that investors from Delhi, Punjab, Gujarat, Kolkata and Mumbai are keen on making investment in Bihar. Participation of National Commodity Development Exchange and National Spot Exchange at the meet was vital for marketing maize and its processed products from Bihar in the near future, he said.

Rajendra said Bihar is the third-largest maize producer in the country and is number one as far as production of Rabbi maize is concerned as it produces 60 per cent of it. He said that the five working groups were formed for maize production mechanization providing improved technique to farmers for processing and marketing.

The National Spot Exchange has opened its information centre at Maheshkoot in Khagaria district for buyers-sellers interaction, he said, adding that the farmers of Bihar included in the MPTF had recently visited Mumbai, Pune and Gujarat for exposure to the maize production and processing units.

Rajendra said that the farmers of Bihar get very low return for their maize produce which is marketed through middlemen. With huge investments in maize sector in Bihar, the facilities for value addition to maize would result in enhanced return to the farmers who could even tie-up with big investors.

He said that Bihar with its quality maize production has the capability of becoming a centre of maize business and export ahead of Nizamabad market in Andhra Pradesh.

Source : The Times of India