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    33 lakh jobs in first Agri-Biz Summit

    BELGAUM: Karnataka which had presented a special and exclusive agriculture budget for the first time in the history of the country is organising a Global Agri-business and Food Processing Summit at Bangalore.Agriculture Minister Umesh Katti, in an exclusive interview with TNIE, said that the summit will bring Rs 50,000 crore investment in agriculture infrastructure and agro-based projects which will improve farmers’ economic status. Katti said that the summit will help create over 33 lakh jobs of which at least three lakh people will be from villages.The main aim of the summit is to focus on building cold storage and warehouses for storing food grains, vegetables and fruits through out the state. Plenty of investors are keen on investing in Karnataka, he said.Katti clarified that the farmers need not worry about loosing their lands as the government is not going to touch fertile and cultivable lands. He said the project needs 18,000 hectares and already 4,000 hectares is available at the land bank. He said if at all land is required to set up the projects, the farmers would be requested and land would be purchased at a mutually accepted price. The minister also said that foreign investors would not be encouraged. He said only Indian companies are allowed to invest in the projects.He also wanted to eliminate the middlemen culture so that farmers and consumers could get fruits, vegetables, flowers and food grains at cheaper rates. He said while a farmer gets only Rs 6 for a kg of onions, the consumer has to pay Rs 20 per kg. The middlemen are eating the sweat of the farmers.Companies would advise the farmers what crops they should grow according to the demand and where to sell their products. The companies will help the farmers through their foreign technology which will help the farmers over come the shortage of farm labourers.