Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries Ramweswar Teli today inaugurated Computational Modelling and Nanoscale Processing Unit at the Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology (IIFPT) in Thanjavur,Tamil Nadu.The Minister also inaugurated a National Conference on Emerging Techniques in Food Processing.The Minister said that, India has been at the forefront of food grain production globally and he also thanked the Scientists for their contribution towards production of sufficient food to feed the population. Further, he said that we have a market in food that is booming with an expected figure of Rs. 61 lakh crores in food retail by 2020. India is the world leader in production of milk, banana, mangoes, spices, shrimp, pulses; and second cereals, vegetables and tea.The Minister also added that post-harvest loses have plagued the supply chain industry, and it is disheartening that every year, substantial produce is lost. Estimated loss in durables is 3-10%, semi-perishables and commodities as milk, fish, meat and eggs about 10-20%; and 10-20% in fruits and vegetables, and 5-16% in horticultural produce. There arises the need to focus on food processing and preservation; besides food production. In view of the Prime Minister’s Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojna, it is important to understand how the farmers’ income be enhanced through his assets (Sampada). The scheme launched with an outset budget of Rs. 6000 crores aim at alleviating the poor state of farmers and help them achieve true value of their produce. The food processing industries sums up about 32% of India’s total food market. Food processing is an ever changing field wherein there are new discoveries almost every day, and the techniques add on to our knowledge repository to better process, preserve and enrich the food products and their intermediaries.
Talking about the farmers’ welfare, Union Minister mentioned that the Ministry has been instrumental in ensuring the noble cause of helping farmers and have approved 42 mega food parks. The Ministry also provides financial support in the tune of 35% of the total cost of plant and machinery for encouraging growth. In addition, the government has entrusted specialized agro-processing financial institutions to finance/refinance the food processing sector, and has launched neoteric initiatives such as ‘Operation Greens’, to monitor price fluctuations. The government has also instituted policy initiatives such as Rs. 2000 Cr fund for NABARD.The Minister appreciated the efforts made by IIFPT in R&D in the field of food processing. From formulating highly nutritious millet ice cream, onion mission programme, advances in computational modelling and nanotechnology, nutritious products with neera; and the upcoming field of 3D printing. He also added, that IIFPT has made remarkable progress in the past 50 years making laudable progress in all areas of food process engineering. We wish to witness many more useful technologies being developed by the institute for the nation and mankind in the near future.He added, this conference would be a great opportunity for all academicians, scientists, industry personnel and students to share research ideas that would enlighten our path towards better process and products using food processing.Dr. C. Anandharamkrishnan, Director, IIFPT, Dr C N Ravishankar, Director, ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Technology and other senior officials also participated in the event.