ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bengaluru, organized a SAARC regional training program on “Agri- Businesses Focusing Agro Food Processing”, that envisaged to impart knowledge and skills for the focal points of SAARC member countries. It was sponsored by SAARC Development Fund, SAC, Bangladesh and intended to advocate expertise and efficiency in Post-Harvest Management, Value Addition and Processing and Mechanization skills in fruits, vegetables and flowers, in addition to quality assurance of such food products to the participants. The program attended by six participants, one each from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, and two from India, comprised of both lectures and practical sessions. The inaugural function was graced by Dr. Md. Baktear Hossain, Director SAC, Dr. A. K. Singh, Deputy Director General (Horticulture Science), ICAR, New Delhi, Dr. Md. Younus Ali, Project Coordinator of SAC, besides, Dr. Debi Sharma, Director, ICAR-IIHR, Dr. Sudha Mysore, CEO, Agrinnovate India Limited, ICAR, New Delhi and Dr. C. K. Narayana, Training Coordinator.
The training program consisted of lectures on ‘Agri-Food Value Chain Management’ by Dr. P. R. Patil, Consultant, APEDA, ‘Leadership Challenges in Food and Agribusiness Management’ by Dr. Sudha Mysore, ‘Food labelling, packaging and branding of fruits and vegetables’, by Dr. H. S. Oberoi, FSSAI and a lecture by Mr. Vignesh Kumar from WayCool Foods and Products Pvt. Ltd, Chennai. Scientists from ICAR-IIHR also handled lectures and practicals on produce handling, value added products and mechanization. The trainees visited the Food Safety and Referral Laboratory accredited by NABL, to comprehend the quality assurance infrastructure at ICAR- IIHR.
On the concluding day, participants visited processing units of India Food Park located at Tumkur District of Karnataka which extends one stop solution for various aspects in post harvest management and processing of food commodities, including technical assistance to farmers and entrepreneurs in establishing food processing businesses. The three-day training concluded with the valedictory program and certificate distribution.