SHILLONG: The 'Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Centre for Policy Research & Analysis' of IIM Shillong hosted the 'North East Summit on Food Processing - Building Partnership for Inclusive Growth in Food Processing Sector' on Friday.
The event slated to be held across two days will have intense deliberations and supported by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, it aims to explore the scope of 'Food Processing' and business opportunities in NER. The focus areas are infrastructure and connectivity in PPP mode, skill development, financial inclusion, service sector development particularly in food processing.
Speaking as the Chief Guest, Union Minister of State for Food Processing Industries & Jal Shakti, Prahlad Singh Patel stated that three important factors form the base for success – information, connectivity and communication and added that the Food Processing sector is also dependent on these factors.
Further, he mentioned that one should always tackle the difficulties, adding that work has to be shared and information collected so that one can bring in judicious efforts towards such start-up initiatives.
Patel cited the example of how producing a product at a place where it can also find its purpose can lead to a successful venture, and added that the industry itself has the power to generate employment and also aid in profit generation for the organisation, the State and the entire nation.
"The Government of India has come up with schemes to aid the distribution of products," he informed, adding that the only concern is being able to clearly articulate the issues or challenges faced during processing.
Patel added, "We should discuss the issues properly and only then we can succeed. Discussion paves way for success. We have the power of thinking and the strength to face any challenge that comes up."
While speaking at the inauguration ceremony, the Union Minister paid tribute to former President of India (late) Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, who had delivered his last speech at IIM Shillong.
Presenting his welcome address, Prof D.P. Goyal, Director IIM Shillong said, "Being the only IIM in Northeast region of India, the Institute has from day one acknowledged the huge responsibility of serving as a leader and also a catalyst to assist in the overall development of this vast and complex region. The Institute is committed to continuously build engagements, particularly through our Centres."
Prof. Goyal also expressed satisfaction over the Institute's overall performance in ensuring transfer of knowledge, learning and action during the pandemic while also informing regarding the seven symposia organized earlier by the APJ Abdul Kalam Centre for Policy Research & Analysis for laying the base for developmental planning and emphasis on 6 sectors in particular (BPO, Horticulture, Handloom, Handicraft, Logistics and Tourism) which was attended by 2000 odd participants from across NER and the country as a whole. "IIM Shillong aims to assist the state governments of the NER to improve on performance through innovative policies and recommendations. The Centre works as a bridge between the policy makers, stakeholders and beneficiaries."
Speaking in detail on the opportunities and challenges in the sector of Food Processing, Member of the BoG of IIM Shillong remarked, "The Summit has relevance to what we have gone through in the last one and a half years. This is the right time to talk about Food Processing Industry, the challenges, the emerging opportunities especially on the background of Hon'ble Prime Minister's thrust on Atmanirbhar Bharat, being vocal for local so that Indian entrepreneurs can emerge to become players in the global market. He further added, "Sustainable eco system and environment suitable for most types of vegetation is our strength. Organic produce, especially from the northeast is currently the hot topic across the world."
He stated that in the Northeast, there are only 60,000 units registered under MSME, which accounts for only 0.7 percent of the country's total registered units. He highlighted the lack of awareness of Government schemes among the public. Sharing some of the challenges that the Entrepreneurs face in the region, he said that insufficient institutional support and inadequate R&D are some that can be resolved by the Ministry. Among the challenges, poor infrastructure and less financial support is what is dragging the region down even though there is potential, stated Kulkarni.