'Knowledge key to innovation'

CSIR Foundation Day celebrated at CFTRI; Prizes for meritorious students

'Knowledge key to innovation'

He was speaking at the Foundation Day celebrations of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) held at Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) in the city on Sunday.

Without the green revolution, the country would not have attained the economic growth that we see today. Explaining that food production has been stagnant for the last few years, Dr Raghavan said we need produce an additional 50 per cent by 2013. It is important to formulate a green revolution to increase food production keeping in mind restrictions of land, water and changing climatic conditions.

Food processing

While the Indian food processing sector is worth $ 70 billion, the ready-to-eat sector has a market value of only 1.5 per cent and value addition of 20 per cent. The turnover during the last 17 years is Rs 8.35 lakh crore at an annual growth rate of seven per cent.

The indian food processing sector ranks fifth in the world and employs around 16 lakh persons, he said. The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is set to hit $ three billion per annum. He said that the government has set targets of increasing processing level and value addition to 20 per cent.

Explaining that the investment in R&D as very poor, Dr Raghavan said that only Rs 1,303 crore was spent during 1990-2007. He said that India processes only two per cent of its total food output as compared to 80 per cent by Malaysia and 30 per cent in Thailand.

Clusters

He said that the country is famous for its industrial clusters with around 450 clusters, with each cluster being home around 100-1000 Small Scale Industries (SSIs). More than 190 clusters existing in the food processing sector.

He said that R&D reaches these SSIs through informal channels or through Central/State agencies. He urged for a sustained effort to provide assistance in R&D to SSIs.

The food processing sector in India is highly decentralised, thousands of SSIs are operating in the country. Due to non adoption of cost effective techniques, India’s share in world trade has still remained at less than one per cent.

Dr Raghavan explained that new opportunities in the food processing sector can be created through the establishment of mega food parks and modernisation of meat processing industry. He stressed on the need to adopt biotechnology on a large scale.

Urging for a stronger public private partnership for R&D utilisation, Dr Raghavan said that scaling up of technology is essential to penetrate the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Sector in food processing. He also for capacity building and induction technology incubators for innovative product/ process development.

Patents

He said that 28,840 patents were filed globally in 2007, with US filing 2,882 and China producing 410 patents. India meanwhile was lagging behind with only 70 patents.
Expressing the need for keeping pace with those abroad, Dr Raghavan said that the Indian Patent Office receives around 35,000 patents and around 83 are filed from abroad.

Commending CFTRI for providing a leadership role in intellectual property (IP) generation, Dr Raghavan said CFTRI is holding the top position since 1995. We have to strengthen our global IP position to reinforce our role as an emerging knowledge power. Global markers offer new opportunities to India to increase its research priorities, he said.

Dr Raghavan distributed prizes and cash awards to children of CFTRI staff on the occasion of CSIR Foundation Day.

CFTRI director Dr V Prakash, Head of PCT Dr A G Appu Rao and Head of FMBCT, Dr G Venkateshwara Rao were present.

Nanotechnology

Dr K V Raghavan said, nanotechnology for food packaging needs improved shelf life due to the growing demand for convenience food. Stressing on the need to enter the new frontier of nano food packaging, Dr Raghavan said out of 150 international publications in nano food packaging there was not even a single contribution from an Indian resident during 2000-10.

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