Saturday, August 22, 2009


That the food processing sector has very high potential for generating employment, is by now well recognized and the extent of job creation is linked to degree of value addition to the food raw materials produced. In India one can hear complaints all around about the inability of the country to increase value addition in spite of the large agricultural base which makes it one amongst the top 5 countries in the production of almost all foods. Universities and teaching shops produce diplomates, graduates, post graduates and doctorates for meeting the needs of the industry though there is practically no linkage with the processing sector to understand its exact needs. The net result is a jig saw puzzle where available personnel try to fit into many positions in the industry for which they invariably have neither the skill nor the aptitude, Innumerable pleas in the past for establishing credible alliance between the Universities and the industry have fallen on deaf ears.  

Look at the Irish situation. It may be a small country where agriculture and food sectors hardly contribute to less than 10% of the work force and food exports are not that significant. Still the government there encourages industry to upgrade the skill of their working personnel through attractive incentives, spending public funds. "In a bid to make Irish food more attractive to export markets, the Irish Food Board, Bord Bia, is working with the neighbouring Smurfit business school at University College Dublin to develop 25 young graduates to help in the cause. The scheme represents an investment of around $1m by Bord Bia"

In India also, there is an urgent need to create an organic linkage between the industry and the Universities on a much larger scale than what is happening at present. NIFTEM, the much touted food technology and management institute under 100% government control at Kundli, Haryana cannot the model as it is going to be neither effective nor viable as experiene would reveal in the course of time. It is imperative that the large technical base created in hundred and odd universities in the country is fully exploited by linking their academic and research activities to industry needs, in stead of allowing them to waste national resources by unfocused R & D on purely academic and irrelevant areas.


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