Food Processing Business Incubator developed, as part of the inter-University collaboration between Tamilnadu Agricultural University (TNAU) and Canadas McGill University is open for potential entrepreneurs planning commercial scale processed foods ventures.
The business incubator project is part of the Canadian International Development Agencys (CIDA) ongoing `consolidation of food security in South India project for the partnership branch of civil societies. Besides the TNAU, two agriculture Universities at Bangalore and Dharwad in Karnataka are covered under the CIDA project, which is intended to enhance technology and capacity building in food systems by covering the local community and self-help groups.
The full-fledged production facilities and the R&D support of the incubator will be made available to the entrepreneurs on payment of membership fee (Rs 5,000 non-refundable) and usage charges for the facilities availed. The usage of the incubator and the University support would be limited only for one year, by which time the entrepreneur is expected to set up an own production facility elsewhere.
Spread over 4,500 sq ft at an outlay of Rs 1.5 crore as part of the facilities at the Universitys post-harvest technology centre, the business incubator is equipped with full set of machinery to handle processing and packaging of agri/horticulture products. This, along with the pilot scale bakery unit and a spice mill already installed at the University, would supplement the production facility needed for new products/processes tried by the entrepreneur.
The incubator would also be used for research projects of students and faculty of the University as well as training NGOs and farmers.
The post-harvest technology centre has already developed technology for 12 food products ready for commercial use and three entrepreneurs using the facilities/technology of the incubator have commercialised three products for both domestic and export marketing.
The machinery installed at the incubator comprises smaller capacity models (50 litres per hour for liquid processing and one tonne a day for jelly preparation) and skid-mounted types. These models would give freedom of mobility for entrepreneurs to locate them in rural areas.