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CFTRI to house 50 incubatees to boost start-ups in food tech

CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysuru has proposed to expand its incubation facility in the next two years for accommodating 50 incubatees or entrepreneurs wishing to launch start-ups, adopting varied food technologies developed at the country’s premier food research laboratory.

Thanks to the State government’s Science and Technology Department, the CFTRI received Rs. 5 crore for establishing the incubation centre which is carrying on full-fledged operations since past four years. Phase-II of the incubation activities was ready for launch with the increase in space at the centre.

The larger idea is to help generate employment, encouraging entrepreneurs to have their own businesses since MSMEs happen to be one of the largest generators of jobs. The incubation centre generates ideas and translates them into action.

“Interestingly, NRIs were coming forward to use inputs from the CFTRI and are wishing to return to India to start their ventures. Three entrepreneurs have been accommodated recently at our incubation centre,” said CFTRI Director K.S.M.S. Raghavarao.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, he said the institute’s incubation centre hand-holds entrepreneurs and guide them in coming up with their own ventures. “Our people help in analysis, trial productions, and aid in the process of taking the products to consumers and guiding them in getting consumer feedback with research and analytical experiments.”

The institute wants to develop an industrial park, accommodating more budding entrepreneurs for establishing successful ventures, on a portion of a 142-acre plot on the M.G. Halli premises near Kalidasa Road here. There are also plans to shift the M.Sc programmes in food technology to the new premises.

Strengthening tech division

Mr. Raghavarao, who assumed charge recently, said he is focussing on strengthening the institute’s technology division, appointing 24 technical staff in Group 2 and 3 cadre. Later, the posts vacant will be filled in Group 2 and 4.

With the idea of increasing the floating workforce on the campus, the institute also has plans to modify the rules to accommodate more students for doctoral programmes, in a bid to aid national missions on health and wellness and nutrition. The institute handles more than 200 Ph.Ds.

Innovations

Ragi mudde-making machine and carbonated fruit juices are among the innovative machines and technologies that will be on display during the Open Days here on October 29 and 30.

All 16 research departments of the institute will display posters and products that explain their research work. In addition, machines designed by the institute, processed products and some simple testing procedures used in food processing will be demonstrated on the occasion.

Mr. Raghavarao said the ragi mudde-making machine is being displayed for the first time in public though the technology had been already given to Indira Canteens. This machine makes around 300 ragi balls in an hour. “The State government has requested us to upgrade these machines and 50 machines that can produce at least 1,000 ragi balls an hour have been sought for the canteens. The work on upgrading the technology is on,” he said.

‘Prasadams’

The CFTRI is in the processing of standardising ‘prasadams’ of some major temples, including Sabarimala in Kerala, Shirdi in Maharashtra, Palani in Tamil Nadu and Chamundi Hills in Mysuru.

Mr. Raghavarao said the ‘prasadam’ for Chamundi Hills has been standardised and the technology was ready for transfer to the temple authorities. The standardisation process of Sabarimala prasadam has taken some time because the authorities were busy tackling floods.

On October 29, Mysuru MP Pratap Simha will inaugurate the Open Days at 10.30 a.m. DFRL Director Anil D. Semwal will be the guest.

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