Conference on Startups and MSMEs in Food Processing Held at ICAR-RC, Umiam, Meghalaya on 11th December 2018, “Food Processing can bring Employment Opportunities for The Youth of Meghalaya”


A one day Conference on “Startups and MSMEs in Food Processing” was organized today by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industries of India (ASSOCHAM) in collaboration with Ministry of Food & Processing Industries (MoFPI), Government of India and ICAR Research Centre for NEH Region, Umiam, Meghalaya and SIDBI for providing a platform to aspiring food entrepreneurs, existing SMEs in food, agriculture professionals, students, progressive farmers, Self Help Groups, etc. for sharing their views and learn about latest initiatives, schemes and opportunities available in the field of Agro Food Industries. More than 100 participants from the state attended the conference.

The chief guest for the occasion Shri Tathagata Roy, Hon’ble Governor of Meghalaya addressing the inaugural session said that Meghalaya has immense potential in the food processing sector as its base economy is agrarian. The potential of agro based industry needs to be developed. The state of Meghalaya is bestowed with abundant natural resources and the resources need to be tapped for the development of the state which in return will create a lot of employment opportunities for the youth. The potential for Agro-based food processing industries in the state of Meghalaya is very high. Besides the major food crops of rice and maize, the state is also renowned for its horticultural crops like orange, lemon etc. Food processing in the state has to grow so as to achieve its full potential. He also added that apart from agricultural produce meat processing can also be taken up in a big way in the state, and will put Meghalaya among the top processors of meat products. He said that value addition by even simple processing techniques will increase income of the farmers and will bring development in the state.  He added that such conferences will bring out innovative idea and the platform will act as an exposure to the budding entrepreneurs and they can get linkages to the market. He concluded by saying that this sector is dominated by large number of SMEs who requires finance to meet their modernization demands. On the other hand there are technology providers, innovators and financial institutions that are looking for buyers of their technologies and financial services. Creating a platform where Food MSMEs, technology providers, banks, government officials etc. interacts for providing boost to the growth of food processing sector will be apt for growth.

Welcoming the dignitaries Dr Narendra Prakash, Director, ICAR RC for NEH Region said that the state one of the fastest growing in terms of agricultural hence the opportunity should be tapped for agri-business. The region has immense scope and the youth should make the most out of it and taking part in the conference will help them generate ideas and implement them in their respective fields. He also highlighted the strengths of Indian agriculture and the exemplary work done by ICAR and Meghalaya state to promote food processing.

Shri M L Suiam, OSD, Directorate of Food Processing, Government of Meghalaya gave a special address in the inaugural session, and congratulated ASSOCHAM in organizing this conference on such an apt topic. He highlighted the challenges faced by food processing industry in general in the state of Meghalaya like infrastructure, market connectivity, skills etc. He highlighted the steps taken by the state government in improving the facilities and encouraging budding entrepreneurs to take up food processing as their first choice. He highlighted various schemes of state as well as central government to support the business community and encourage startup community to focus more on agri-preneurship. He highlighted that agri surplus in the state gets wasted and needs to be tackled in a better way, and food processing is the only solution for the same. He said that Meghalaya can be a major hub for processed organic food due to its strategic location, which can easily cater to the South East Asian Markets. Shri Chetan Vij, Assistant Director, ASSOCHAM said the objective of the conference is to create awareness for the budding entrepreneurs about the various MoFPI schemes. This conference focuses to act as a linage to the markets and discuss the challenges faced by the entrepreneurs and minimize the post harvest wastage. The conference is a platform to innovative ideas and the entrepreneurs should make the most out of it. Dr. G. Kadirvel, Principal Scientist & PI, ABI, ICAR RC for NEH Region, Umiam speaking on the occasion, focused on the Agri- business and the role of ABI. ABI sensitizes the youth of the state and promotes start ups. Skill development is one of the major areas in which ABI emphasis. Shri Girinda Brahma, Assistant General Manager, SIDBI in his special address explained the schemes of his organization to help and support MSMEs to grow. He highlighted various initiatives taken by SIDBI for the betterment of Startups and MSMEs in food processing sector, and how entrepreneurs can take their full advantage. Dr. Arnab Sen, Head, Division of Animal Health ICAR-RC while delivering the vote of thanks, highlighted the importance of Conference for the enthusiastic budding entrepreneurs for starting new ventures in agriculture and food processing.

Other speakers who addressed the Conference included Shri Sajjan Kumar Tharad, Secretary, Frontier Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Meghalaya, Smt. Sunita Rai Assistant General Manager from APEDA, Shri S K Das, Assistant Director from MSMR-DI.



Chief Guest lighting the lamp




Dignitaries on the Dias