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Indian, Canadian institutes sign MoU on food processing research

New Delhi, June 7 (IANS) The Indian Institute of Crop Processing Technology (IICPT) Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, for collaborative research and training in the field of food processing and exchange of faculty and students.

The MoU was signed here by IICPT director K. Alagasundaram and Venkatesh Meda, professor of bioprocess engineering at the university, on behalf of the Canadian institute. Food Processing Industries Minister Subodh Kant Sahai and Saskatchewan’s Education Minister Rob Norris were present on the occasion.

‘This agreement will help in the development of post-harvest management and food processing (in India) and a lot of exchanges of scientists, teachers and students will take place,’ Sahai told the media after the signing of the MoU.

The minister said the University of Saskatchewan has partnerships with over 150 business houses for new innovations in food technology, food taste and food products.

‘This is definitely going to help issues related to the Indian food industry,’ he said.

The IICPT, based in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, is a national level institute and its mandates include basic, applied and adoptive research and development in post-harvest, processing, education and training to create a strong human resource base for the food processing industry.

The university at Saskatoon in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan is an over 100 years old institution.

Speaking about the Indian food processing industry, Sahai said he was aiming at taking the processing levels in the country from the current 10 percent to 20 percent by 2015.

‘The agricultural sector is huge in Canada and the country is known for its expertise in food technology and post-harvest processing,’ he added.

He said that the agreement between the two institutes would help in India’s efforts to make its farmers go for market-driven farming and reduce the annual wastage of agricultural produce worth around Rs.500 billion.

Norris, who led the Canadian delegation, said the MoU ‘allows us to highlight the significance of the partnership in agriculture, agro-food and, more broadly, biosciences, not only between the countries but most importantly, between the two institutes’.

Earlier, addressing the Canadian delegation, Sahai said through such MoUs, scientists could meaningfully contribute to the development of technologies for food processing by adoptive and applied research and exchange of knowledge and information.

The MoU enables, among other things, long and short-term exchange of faculty and students for research, sabbaticals and advanced training, development of mutually beneficial academic programmes, coordination in joint research and development and exchange of research materials and technologies.

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