AIP Conducts Sweet Makers Training Program to Improve their Income
January 18 – 20, 2012 | Varanasi, India

A three-day training program focusing on cross-cutting socio-economic themes in agriculture was organized at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) by the Agricultural Innovation Partnership (AIP). During this program, vocational exposure was given to small entrepreneurs by faculty members from various universities, wherein they shared their expertise in the area of processing techniques involved in preparation of dairy products.

During the three days, there were discussions on the importance of traditional dairy products in the Indian context and the need to update the sweet makers on the international standards of food processing. Some of the discussions surrounded the need for the Indian sweet makers to adhere strictly to international standards while manufacturing quality food products. Several discussions focused on quality assurance systems, manufacturers’ lack of knowledge of GMP (good manufacturing practices), issues with regional specificity in traditional dairy foods, lack of production statistics and lack of packaging equipment and systems. Some of the discussions highlighted the various steps required to prevent chemical contamination of traditional milk sweets and preservation techniques. The need of a testing laboratory adjacent to any large scale milk storage unit and a well-equipped processing plant was also stressed upon. The durability of the edible products and ways to improve the quality of the products was also a major cause of debate during the workshop. The process of Extrusion and its advantages was highlighted as part of food manufacturing practices.During the course of the presentations, there were several rounds of discussion on the major business strategies for starting any large scale manufacturing unit to generate employment, along with the need to develop more nutritious and appealing food products, especially traditional Indian milk products, to harness their potential in the international market. After several rounds of discussion it was felt that there was a need for a stringent market analysis before launching any food product, adherence to a set standard of rules, using state-of-the-art technologies in manufacturing, following food safety regulations, right infrastructure management, using trained manpower and producing novel products. The discussions also highlighted on the salient features of the FSSAI act, the scope of the act and the new provisions in the act. Discussions among the participants also focused on the multifarious use of soybean worldwide and its huge potential in the Indian market. It was also felt that there was a need to follow the step-by-step protocol for preparing cow milk paneer (Indian cottage cheese) in the pilot plant situated in the premises of Center of Food Science and Technology, BHU.

The sweet makers shared their practical knowledge on preparing paneer in their shops. They also enquired about the preparation of soy milk and soy milk paneer (Tofu) and got expert advices on improving the quality of milk produce. The training imparted to the sweet makers and street food vendors was found to be very fruitful as the participants showed keen interest in obtaining information regarding the current practices to be followed according to the changing laws on food safety. The laboratory exercises were quite informative and answered some of the major queries of the sweet makers and cooperative milk producers. The sweet makers showed their interest in soymilk processing and extrusion techniques for evolving different kinds of novel food products. The participants showed special attention towards quality control and adulteration control practices. This international training program was very beneficial for the traditional sweet makers and street food vendors to improve the overall quality of their product to meet the international standards.

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