Towards achieving its mandate to improve income and livelihood among the rural populace involved in the agricultural and related sectors, the Agricultural Innovation Partnership (AIP) will organize a three-day training program for farmers, small entrepreneurs, students, homemakers and educated unemployed youth in the Department of Agricultural Engineering and Food Technology, College of Agriculture, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture & Technology (SVPUA&T), Meerut on December 22-24, 2012.
The hands-on training will help the participants learn ways to improve the shelf life of food products, taste and nutritional value of the value-added food using traditional as well as modern methods. The participants will also be trained on using simple, but effective ways of employing the recent advances made in processing and preservation technologies in fruits and vegetables. AIP, a project funded by the USAID, is a consortium of leading agricultural universities and institutions in India and US and supported by private partners in India, is managed by Sathguru Management Consultants.
In India, close to 20 percent of the total vegetable and fruit produce worth INR 440 billion goes to waste annually due to the lack of transport and cold chain facilities. The negative impact of this on natural resource utilization, farmer income, and the rural economy may be effectively countered by educating the farmers and other members of local agrarian economies on effective processing and preservation techniques.
An eminent faculty comprising industry leaders and subject experts from India and US will converge to share their knowledge and experiences through hands-on trainings and presentations that will demonstrate ways to improve the edibility and quality of processed fruits and vegetables. The top-notch team of experts from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University comprising Prof. Syed Rizvi and Alicia Orta-Ramirez will train the participants. Speaking on the occasion, Prof Rizvi said, "This training program, meant largely for the people at the grass-roots level, will coach them on developing unique, less price-sensitive, consumer-oriented, hygienic products to bolster the agriculture-industry interface, develop entrepreneurship models and understand bio-process technology for converting raw agricultural produce into useful products."
Speaking on the need of the training, Prof Samsher, Dept. of Food Science and Technology, SVPUA&T who has been actively involved in conducting the training, commented, "The idea of deriving value-added products from agricultural produce highlight several complex issues-product innovation and management and rural development-all of which are intricately connected with the future of agriculture and rural communities. AIP aims at empowering the rural community with the technical know-how to convert agricultural produce into value-added products, which will help serve several purposes simultaneously."
The program is designed to instill ideas for value addition to local agricultural produce that will involve techniques to produce fruit- and vegetable-based beverages; ready-to-serves, squash and nectar preparation; jam and jelly preparation; ketchup, sauce preparation, etc. While providing an added source of income to the locals, the training will help in reducing wastage of agricultural produce as a result of optimum storage and enhancing shelf-life of the products through food processing and preservation techniques such as curing, pickling, evaporating and drying. The program will also help to enhance rural economies and empower the populace, particularly the women, by offering them entrepreneurial opportunities. The trainers will demonstrate ways of producing minimally-processed food, which contain less fat, salt, sugar and other carbohydrates and more fresh ingredients. The program will instill in the participants the importance of following food safety standards and the strategies that need to be adopted to ensure that the final produce is and remains safe for consumption. The products generated over the course of the training program would be evaluated through sensory evaluation on a 9 point Hedonic scale in the SVPUA&T laboratory.
Dr. Suresh D., General Manager-Life Sciences Advisory Group at Sathguru Management Consultants said, "A part of the agricultural produce, often grown in abundance in India, surpasses demand, and can be utilized to provide benefits to other agricultural or non-agricultural sectors. AIP plans to look at the potential uses for agricultural produce in an effort to raise farm-level awareness among the food producers of the country about the inherent worth of value-added products and to facilitate future initiatives."
Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Agricultural Innovation Partnership (AIP), a five-year project, comprises a consortium of Indian Agricultural Universities and land-grant universities in the US (Cornell, Illinois, Georgia, The Ohio State, Tuskegee, and UC Davis) and private sector partners that include John Deere, Tata Chemicals Ltd, and Sathguru Management Consultants Pvt. Ltd. AIP believes in fostering change in the capabilities of Indian universities to deliver innovative pedagogical practices and to maximize institutional impact by promoting holistic transformation in Indian agriculture. AIP fosters innovation ecosystems within the rural setup to maximize income and enhance sustainability.
About College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University
Cornell University, an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, USA, is one of the world's leading universities providing education to more than 22,000 students the world over. About 1,600 able faculty members, comprising internationally recognized authorities in their respective fields, including Nobel laureates and Rhodes scholars, guide these students. The research interests and activities of this university's faculty and students have placed Cornell amongst the world's best research institutions. Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is recognized as the leading institution for agricultural education and research in the world. CALS is instrumental in establishing the International Agricultural Research System and has been involved in education and research partnerships in several countries in Asia since the Green Revolution.
About Sathguru Management Consultants
Sathguru Management Consultants is a multifaceted advisory firm providing strategic, technological, functional and sectoral advisory services to an international clientele. Sathguru is among the largest strategy and technology management advisory firm for the life sciences sector that covers a broad spectrum of industries including agriculture, food, retail, animal sciences and health care. Sathguru's development efforts are carried out in partnership with domestic and international development partners. Sathguru has pioneered creation of public-private partnerships for advancement of life science research, skill development and technology commercialization.
Dr. Suresh Damodaran, General Manager - Life Sciences Advisory Group, Sathguru Management Consultants, + 91 (40) 30160207, 30160333