Sunday, December 13, 2009


In the industrial landscape of any developing country three segments coexist sharing the market for processed goods, viz, micro enterprises, small scale industries and large players, each having their strength and weakness. Preferential policies by the government in favor of low tech endeavors with comparatively smaller investment and turn over help them to survive against the fierce marketing muscle and deep pockets of the large scale manufacturers. It is well recognized that small industry players suffer from many constraints like lack of financial resources, limited access to viable and low cost technologies, non-availability of affordable technical personnel and difficult marketing logistics. In spite of the awareness that exists regarding their vulnerability, no worthwhile efforts have been mounted to remedy the above reality in India. The recent move by the authorities in the US government to provide free and instant technical help to small scale food plants there through toll free telephone is an example worth following by developing countries as well.

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today announced the opening of its new small plant help-desk, which will provide for operators of small and very small meat, poultry and processed egg products establishments seeking help with agency requirements with direct access to knowledgeable staff specialists. The help-desk also will provide assistance to state and local food regulatory agencies – FSIS' partners in keeping meat, poultry and egg products safe for consumers".

Can GOI direct the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) to set up such a dedicated helpline round the clock for the benefit of the micro- and small enterprises to provide them with answers for technical difficulties faced by them in their day to day production activities? For this to happen, a competent group with extensive techno-industrial experience will have to be set up with a willingness to be patient and helpful in overcoming their problems with least delay. If GOI considers CFTRI to be not so competent to understand and tackle problems of food industry, it has the five star NIFTEM under its wing to put in place such a mechanism. Besides helping the industry, such a move will ensure better food safety for the citizens.

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