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Food processing on ITI platter

BHUBANESWAR: From the coming academic session, several engineering schools and industrial training institutes (ITIs) will offer courses in food processing under National Mission on Food Processing, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) secretary Panchanan Dash said here on Thursday.

Speaking at the horticulture and food processing conclave organized by the Indian 
Chamber of Commerce, Dash said only 1% of the total crop produced in Odisha is being processed. "Technical institutes have been asked to design specific training programmes for skill development in food processing with focus on plucking, grading and sorting, packaging and storing," he said, adding that the National Mission on Food Processing will fund the courses.

Agriculture secretary 
Rangalal Jamuda said the state should focus on non-paddy crops. "The state had a paddy yield of about 95 lakh metrictonne (MT) this year, of which only 40 lakh MT will be consumed. It has been a headache to dispose of the rest 45 lakh MT paddy. And with the Food Corporation of India not lending any support, this has led to distress sale. We have decided to switch over to the more remunerative non-paddy crops," Jamuda said. The government is also planning to set up 10 agro-industrial estates in 10 agro-climatic zones in the state, he added.