National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management (NIFTEM) has the potential to become the Harvard for food processing technology and management sector in India. A university which despite being nascent, has already been ranked 50th out of 3007 universities in the country, Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister of Food Processing Industries said in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Addressing the 6th Annual Meeting of NIFTEM-Industry Forum, the Minister said “Like people world over, Indians are also becoming increasingly aware of healthy food habits. I have asked NIFTEM to explore how it can come up with ‘Brand NIFTEM’ which is healthier,fresher and cheaper.
The Union Minister added, “I foresee a lot of potential for the new facilities created at NIFTEM. The food testing lab should become a nodal lab for Food Safety Standards Authority of India and also both domestic and international companies to rely on for testing of their products.” Badal further said that NIFTEM should become the brand of the healthiest version of the processed food that they have to offer. According to her, the Ministry along with NIFTEM has explored how NIFTEM can open up its incubation centres to new entrepreneurs can try out new things while also providing them a market by opening at least two outlets- one at NIFTEM and one in the Ministry premises.
The Minister invited suggestions from food processing industry on how to best utilise the facilities at NIFTEM and make them beneficial to all stakeholders. The Minister invited the industry gathering to partner with NIFTEM and evolve as a guide to help the Ministry form policies for the food processing sector.
Speaking on the occasion, Jagdish Prasad Meena, Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, said that in four years the Ministry has been able to bring the sector to the forefront not just in the country but also at global level. He highlighted that the Ministry receives three to four foreign delegations every month as compared to only a few in a year till a few years ago.
The Secretary also said that the Industry needs to do much more and establish itself as creator and not just imitator of foreign products adding that the industry must come out with products that are globally competitive. He added that great attention needs to be paid to research and development (R&D) and quality certifications for this. On that note he invited the industry to integrate itself with the R&D facilities that NIFTEM offers. He said that the Industry needs to pay more attention to quality of its product and proper certification to avoid rejection of exports by foreign countries.
The Secretary also called for development of protocols for storage of food crops in cold storages. He highlighted that even specialised multi product cold storages in the country are being used as common cold storage whereas each food crop requires its own standards of storage.
The 6th meeting of NIFTEM Industry Forum was aimed at strengthening Industry-NIFTEM collaboration. NIFTEM, a premier institution under aegis of Ministry of Food Processing Industries is a sector specific institution to cater to various stakeholders such as entrepreneurs, food processing industry, exporters, policy makers, government and existing institution.