Conducive industrial milieu must for food processing: ISRO Chief
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Conducive industrial milieu must for food processing: ISRO Chief

December 8, 2023

At CFTRI’s four-day ninth IFCoN-2023, Dr. S. Somanath lays special emphasis on Small Scale Industries

Mysore/Mysuru: Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Dr. S. Somanath opined that There is a need to encourage Small Scale Industries (SSIs) involved in food processing on a large scale in the country.

He was speaking after inaugurating the ninth International Food Convention (IFCoN-2023) organised by Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysuru, in association with Association of Food Scientists & Technologists (India)- AFST-I at the Convocation Hall of Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) in city last evening. The convention concludes on Dec. 10.

“With due encouragement, more benefits can be derived along with providing jobs. It is not advisable to ape western countries by relying on machineries on a big scale. It is better to build our industrial sector suiting the lifestyle of our country, as there would be a rise in unemployment if more priority is given to machinery,” observed Dr. Somanath.

Saying that it is essential to create a conducive industrial environment for food processing, Dr. Somanath said, “Food technology industry is facing enormous challenges in the areas of storing and processing, which could be addressed by encouraging SSIs on a large scale.”

India has made significant strides related to food security with the help of science and technology and there has been a considerable improvement in the production of food grains and distribution system. But still, there have been hiccups which can be taken care of by technology. It is now possible to estimate crop loss with the help of remote sensing without visiting the place, which has been made possible by Space Technology, asserted Dr. Somanath.

Likewise, remote sensing also has come in handy in detecting the diseases affecting the crops beforehand, with ISRO aiding sustainable development of the agrarian sector. Acting on the data sent by satellites with the help of remote sensing technology, the duration of the crop and quantity of harvest are also being estimated, with seven crops being monitored for the benefit of the Agriculture Department. It is being extended to 20 more crops, added Dr. Somanath.

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Remote sensing method is used to offset the losses incurred due to the diseases affecting coconut plantations in Kerala. Following the solution, a similar method is extended to all the crops and ISRO is also coming to the rescue in providing food security and augmenting crop yield.

ISRO is also providing weather updates and the information pertaining to sea temperature, water nutrients and growth of fishes are being collected through satellite at Hyderabad ISRO centre, said Dr. Somanath.

Even the underground water table in the country is assessed with the help of satellites by ISRO, on the basis of which 90 percent of borewells with water availability were identified. There have been several reforms with the help of remote sensing method, as it is possible even to estimate inland water distribution, he noted.

Earlier, the availability of water in borewells was less, but now with the aid of technology we have been able to dig deep into the various aspects of geology, which is one of the significant achievements, he added.

Dr. N. Kalaiselvi, Director General of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), who addressed the conference in a virtual mode, thanked the erstwhile royal family of Mysore for donating the spacious building and land for CFTRI.  A souvenir was also released.

Member of the erstwhile Mysore Royal Family Pramoda Devi Wadiyar, who was the chief guest, inaugurated the exhibition. Over 15 prizes were given towards the achievements made in the food sector.

Dr. Sridevi Annapurna Singh, Director of CFTRI, Dr. Anil Dutt Semwal, Director of Defence Food Research Laboratories (DFRL), Mysuru, Dr.N. Bhaskar, Director of Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR), Lucknow and Chairman of AFST(I), Mysuru, Dr. Suresh D. Sakhare, Organising Secretary of IFCoN-2023,  Dr. Tanaji G. Kudre and  others were present.

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Earlier, Padma Shri Dr.Shashank R. Joshi inaugurated Padma Shri Prof. M.S. Swaminathan Padma Awardee Lecture Series and also delivered a lecture. Former VC, University of Mysore and CSIR Emeritus Fellow Prof. K.S. Rangappa presided over the lecture session.

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