Mrs. P. Geetha, Lecturer in Economics, Sri GVG Visalakshi College for Women, Udumalpet, TamilNadu, India
In India there are about 6.3 million villages and 340 million workers in rural unorganized sector who contribute 60% of national income. About 75% of populations who live in villages have to utilize the village resources. In rural areas mainly three types of economic activities are being undertaken. These activities are: primary, secondary and tertiary activities. When we talk of rural development, the emphasis is on the development of agriculture, industry, trade and service sectors. Among these activities, agriculture till now is the main occupational activity in the rural areas as most of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihood and employment. A small stimulation will dynamite the rural economy and lead to improved quality of life. Rural areas must try for better utilization of human resources to improve the rural economy. Promoting agro-based industries, cottage and small-scale industries would serve the purpose of rural entrepreneurship development.
Importance of Agro-Processing Industries
Agro processing could be defined as set of techno economic activities carried out for conservation and handling of agricultural produce and to make it usable as food, feed, fibre, fuel or industrial raw material. Hence, the agro-processing industry is regarded as the sunrise sector of the Indian economy. Properly developed, agro-processing sector would not only encourage rural entrepreneurship but also can make India a major player at the global level for marketing and supply of processed food, feed and a wide range of other plant and animal products.
Categories of Agro – Industry
i) Village Industries owned and run by rural households with very little capital investment and a high level of manual labour. Ex. pickles, papad, etc. ii) Small scale industry characterized by medium investment and semi-automation. Ex. edible oil, rice mills, etc. iii) Large-scale industry involving large investment and a high level of automation. Ex. Sugar, jute, cotton mills, etc
The agro processing sector offers scope for development of several industries such as solvent extraction, oleoresins, kinnow/orange juice, malt extracts, floriculture and a host of other items. Besides, items that have bright prospects are • Mushrooms
• Tomato processing
• Other processing industries based on
- Pomegranate and other vegetables like
• Industries based on herbal and medicinal plants.
• Sheep, goat, buffalo meat processing.
• Poultry and poultry products.
• Non-edible oil processing industries.
• Agriculture produce refinement equipment such as, cleaners, graders and driers for on-farm operations as well as industrial operations. • Development of processes and equipment
o For parboiling of rice, preparation of puffed rice and flaked rice. o For processing of pulses to produce dhal for higher recovery and better quality. o For production of protein rich produces such as full fat soy flour, soy drink/ soymilk, soy paneer (TOFU) and soy fortified baked products. • Such as, leaf cup and dona making machine, multipurpose mills, mini flour mill, grain peelers, maize dehuskers, shellers, groundnut decorticators, fruit graders, juice extractors, high recovery mechanical oil expellers and improved storage structures for cereals, pulses, oilseeds, onion and potato. • For production of high quality ground spices and spice mix, development of raw materials and processes for production of instant sweets, curries, snack foods, instant soft drinks, idli, dosa, sambhar mixes/powders, egg powder, production and packaging of milk products such...