Sunday, February 20, 2011


Read the "exhortation" from the Food Czar at Delhi (Bureaucrat) about what should be done to promote Goan foods in the country! If there is an award for talking through the air, it must go to this person because all the things he said about promoting food industry in Goa have been heard before and nothing much has happened any where. According to this preacher, presiding over the bureaucratic section of the MFPI at Delhi, Goa should have its own food "research" laboratory and one wonders whether he has any clue regarding the logistics involved in setting up a brand new research set up. Probably he must be thinking that providing money would automatically lead to creation of new technical institutions. This is when the conditions in most food technology institutions are pathetic with practically nothing worth while emerging from them that is useful to the industry. If this is so, building another institute is nothing but fool hardy.

"Ashok Sinha, secretary, union ministry of food processing industries, announced at the national food seminar "Goa FoodPro" held in Panaji on January 30 that Goa can set up 1,000 food carts around Panaji under the Central scheme which will generate employment in the state. The seminar was organised by the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI). "Goa should stake a claim to the Centre's food street scheme. We can cover at least one street with basic infrastructure for it to be a food street. One thousand carts can come up in Goa, in and around Panaji, providing street food. It will help in employment generation in the state, which I am told is an issue," Sinha said. He also suggested to chief minister Digambar Kamat that the state should get at least one food technology laboratory to package Goa's ethnic food to be marketed in all major tourist destinations in the country. "At least one food technology laboratory should come up in Goa. A high-level committee for food processing has already been set up in Goa and I know that an institute of food processing is an integral part of the committee's plans," Sinha said. Sinha also said food items unique to Goa should be made available across shelves in the country with better packaging and marketing. "Each state should have a shelf of Goan food like bebinca. No product can sell by itself. There has to be packaging to add value," he said.

Interestingly this gentleman wants the new research set up to carry out work on "packing" of Goan foods with out realizing the complexity of the job. There is already an institute under CSIR, another under DRDO and two others under the MFPI itself from where must seek answers as to what research is being conducted by them on hundreds of traditional foods of India and demand accountability for the vast funds invested in them by the government. Creating more institutions is not the answer but putting the already existing infrastructure facilities and precious personnel pool available here to better use must be the mission of MFPI. The traditional foods have been neglected by food scientists in this country for too long and it is within the power of the GOI to give clear direction to these institutions to focus on Indian foods popular in different states to come out with commercial technologies for their preservation and marketing within India and abroad. What ever items of traditional food that are available in stabilized format in the market owes their existence not because of these redundant research out fits but in spite of them!

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