Saturday, March 17, 2012


It is amusing to read that India is acting like a super power going valiantly to help Africa rise like a food industry giant through extending credit and technical help. What is not understandable is regarding the capability and strength of this Ministry to really plan, design and implement food industry clusters for which enormous experience is needed. One gets rather nervous hearing about such grandiose plans because this Ministry, in spite of its pedestrian existence for the last two decades plus has practically nothing to show as its accomplishments within the country! The 'proclamation"by the Babus in the Ministry is indeed pathetic. Where are the people, qualified and competent to undertake this task? Is the Ministry going to hand over the money to some "favorite' consultants without bothering about the success of the so called "Mission"? Can India afford such lavish spending in a foreign country when the small food industry is languishing across the country? Whatever is the worth of this policy pronouncement, one thing must be made sure and that is to make India a laughing stock abroad for inappropriately executed and inordinately delayed projects which ultimately fail to take of.  There are many "monuments" in some parts of Africa bearing testimony to such crude attempts in the past! Reading the announcement is nonetheless interesting for what it does not say than what is said!

'The ministry of food processing industries is planning to set up a food processing cluster in Africa. The proposed cluster would entail an investment of Rs 117 crore to be spent primarily on the setting up of common infrastructure for food processing parks which includes cold storage, food testing labs, incubation centres, standard designed factories, pre-cooling chambers and other modern technologies used by the industry. This cluster is part of India's $5-billion credit line for Africa announced at the India-Africa Forum Summit last year. "The cluster is likely to come up within next three years. We are floating a competitive bid to appoint a project management agency which will help the ministry in implementing this project," said a top ministry official."

There are some Technological Institutions involved in food technology development but none of them possesses the required management dynamics to design and execute manufacturing projects as exemplified by their relatively obscure presence in the industrial landscape of the country. One wonders how many incubation centers have been established by the Ministry in India during the last 5 years! Also debatable is the success of so called Food Parks touted as achievements by the Ministry. A more logical step would have been to rope in private sector players and experienced consultants to lay out a road map to attain the objective. Good projects with trouble free functioning in foreign countries can be a standing testimony to the technological prowess of the country and spending millions in the name of foreign assistance will have no lasting impact.


No comments: