5,000 Solar Food Processing Units to be Established in Andhra Pradesh

The AP Food Processing Society (APFPS) has launched an ambitious initiative to set up 5,000 solar food processing units (dehydration) across Andhra Pradesh. This effort aligns with the State government’s dedication to sustainable agricultural practices and rural development. Out of the total units, 3,500 will be allocated for the Rayalaseema districts, while the rest will be distributed in other regions of the State.

To enhance the rural economy, APFPS has partnered with the Bank of Baroda (BoB) as evidenced by a recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two entities. L Sridhar Reddy, CEO of APFPS, emphasized the significance of this collaboration in addressing agricultural challenges through innovative solutions while uplifting local communities. He highlighted, “This initiative promotes women’s empowerment, contributes to gender equality, and fosters economic stability in rural areas.”

Under the proposed scheme, beneficiaries will contribute 10% of the project cost, with APFPS offering a subsidy of 35%, and the Bank of Baroda providing a loan to cover the remaining 55%. Chandan Sahoo, Deputy General Manager of Bank of Baroda, noted that the bank would offer loans averaging Rs 2 lakh per unit. This financial support will be crucial for agricultural entrepreneurs entering the processing sector, he added.

This Solar Food Processing pilot project was initially introduced by APFPS a few months ago in Kurnool district. State head of APFPS, Subhash Kiran K, highlighted the positive impact of the solar dehydration units, noting that they have transformed into agents of change, generating an average monthly income of Rs 15,000 per unit.

The project’s beneficiaries will own the income generated individually. The required equipment will be provided by Science for Society (S4S), a company based in Aurangabad, and the end products will be purchased by the same firm. The initial focus of APFPS is on supporting the processing of onions and tomatoes, with plans to diversify into other processing units in the future.

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Shaik Rafiya, a beneficiary from Thadakanapalle village in Kallur mandal, Kurnool, expressed, “Thanks to the advanced equipment provided by APFPS, our lives have taken a new direction. We can process 300 kg of onions daily, and based on the effort we invest, we’re individually earning between Rs 12,000 and Rs 15,000 per month.”

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