Ivar Agro to Invest Rs 200 crore to set up a millet-based food project in Uttarakhand

Ivar Agro to Invest Rs 200 crore to set up a millet-based food project in Uttarakhand
With an initial investment of Rs 200 crore, Ivar Agro would be setting up a state-of-the-art millet-based food products project which would also provide large-scale employment to local people

BK Jha from Biharigarh in Uttarakhand

Biharigarh in Uttarakhand, near the state capital Dehradun, is a sleeping small town surrounded by villages where people are mainly engaged in farming activities. On Tuesday (February 28) farmers of the area woke up to witness a remarkable transformation that is scheduled to take place in the year which is known as the International Year of Millets (IYM 2023). Local people here witnessed the formal beginning of the life-changing agro-business project as the top management and experts team of Ivar Agro gathered here to formally announce the start of the work and held a stakeholder meeting to speed up the works at the project site.

With an initial investment of Rs 200 crore, Ivar Agro would be setting up a state-of-the-art millet-based food products project which would also provide large-scale employment to local people. Ivar Agro’s millet-based products like Bajra Biscuits and Cookies, along with other items are expected to hit domestic and international markets during festive seasons in 2023 (IYM).

“Ivar Agro is a new business venture aimed at providing healthy and sustainable food options to the people of India. Our primary focus is on millet-based products, and we plan to start with the production of millet biscuits. With 1,000 tonnes monthly production capacity, the company aims to empower millet growers of the country by providing them with an opportunity to be our partners in the large-scale production of millet-based food items,” says Vijay Gupta, Founder and Managing Director, Ivar Agro Manufacturing who had conceptualised the project before the outbreak of COVID-19 and subsequently acquired nearly 15 acres in Bihargarh to launch a farmer-centric project.

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In 2022, India made efforts to get 2023 recognised as the International Year of Millets by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). In India, millets are grown as a Kharif crop, requiring less water and other agricultural inputs than other staples. The millets commonly grown in India include Jowar (sorghum), Bajra (pearl millet), Ragi (finger millet), Jhangora (barnyard millet), Barri (Proso or common millet), Kangni (foxtail/ Italian millet), and Kodra (Kodo millet).

In her Budget Speech, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “India is the global hub for millets or Shri Anna. India is at the forefront of popularising millet whose consumption furthers nutrition, food security and welfare of farmers.” She referred to Millets as Shri Anna.

“Our project would be aligned with the government’s initiative to promote millet growers and food products based on it. Our modern automated machines will be well integrated from raw materials to finished items. The project aims to generate livelihoods, increase farmers’ income, and contribute to food and nutritional security. Initially, 200 workers- skilled and semiskilled- would be working in two shifts and as our capacity increases, we would able to provide huge direct and indirect employment opportunities. Over 75 per cent of our workforce would come from local areas,” added Vijay Gupta.

India is the largest producer and second-largest exporter of Shri Anna in the world. The production of millets has increased from 14.52 million tonnes in 2015-16 to 17.96 million tonnes in 2020-21. The production of bajra has also increased from 8.07 million tonnes to 10.86 million tonnes during the same period.

“With the government’s promotional policies and incentives, we are very hopeful that other than current millet growing states- Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana- other states including Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh would also go for it. Hence, there will be no concern about the availability of raw materials. In a phased manner, Ivar Agro would increase its capacity to meet the growing domestic and international demand,” expounds Krishna Gupta, Director and CEO, Ivar Agro.

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Millets are nutrient-rich grains that are well-suited to India’s climate and soil conditions and are an important crop for small and marginal farmers. However, due to factors such as low demand, lack of infrastructure, and limited market access, millet cultivation has declined in recent years, leaving many farmers struggling to make ends meet.

“We are very enthusiastic and hopeful that by establishing a millet-based food product project, there can be an increase in demand for millet-based products such as millet flour, millet flakes, and millet-based snacks-biscuits and cookies. This increase in demand can result in better prices for millet farmers, as well as greater income security,” underpins Dhananjay Gupta, Director and COO, of Ivar Agro.

Ivar Agro aims to create employment opportunities in Biharigarh. Going forward, for backward linkage, it also plans to provide training and support to millet growers, helping them improve the quality of their crops, adopt sustainable farming practices, and connect with markets.

“Large-scale production can further promote the consumption of millets, which are a healthy and sustainable alternative to processed and refined grains. This can improve the health and nutrition outcomes of consumers, as well as support sustainable food systems,” concludes Vijay Gupta.

The declaration has allowed the Indian government to take the lead in celebrating IYM 2023. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made it clear that he wants to use the opportunity to make the event a “People’s Movement” and make India the “Global Hub for Millets.” With Ivar Agro’s project, the people of Biharigarh would be able to boast of becoming the frontrunner in this movement.

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One Comment on “Ivar Agro to Invest Rs 200 crore to set up a millet-based food project in Uttarakhand”

  1. It’s a current topic and It’s very useful and knowledgeable topic. Writer Mr BK Jha has described it in very good manner. I hope he will continue to write like this in future.

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