NIFTEM’s Village Adoption Programme
NIFTEM, in its own humble and quiet way, has initiated a unique Nation building initiative called the “Village adoption program” which has been conceptualized for linking rural entrepreneurs and farmers to the mainstream economy.This program is being implemented since 2012. At present Team NIFTEM has accomplished Eight rounds of VAP and has adopted 39 villages in 18 States across the Country. The aim is to help the Indian Food Processing sector accomplish its objective of all- inclusive growth and facilitate the process of integrating the underprivileged sections of our population with the main-stream organised economy.
This is expected to result is enhancement of farmers income, generation of lots of employment & self-employment opportunities for rural youth, development of villages & will ultimately lead to Nation’s development.
In this programme students of B. Tech (Food Technology & Management) and M. Tech students under the guidance of Faculty (Mentor) adopt a village anywhere in India and nurse for about 4 years during the entire programme of study. The groups go and stay in the village twice a year for about 10-12 days each time in each semester and collectively work for all-round development of the village with special focus on Good Agricultural Practices, Food Processing, Product Development, Value Addition, Preservation and Reduction of Wastages, Promotion of Renewable Energy Sources, and addressing the social issues. Recently, VAP also incorporated the component of Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Make in India Campaign, Swaach Bharat Campaign and Soil health card scheme. At various locations VAP also addressed the important issues like Save the Girl Child, Girl child education, sanitation and hygiene.
It is a symbiotic process leading to exchange of Knowledge. While villagers gain scientific and technical knowledge through students who promote future possibilities of food processing among them, students obtain firsthand experience of Indian rural scenario and understand traditional processing technologies adopted by the villagers. Students gain general awareness of the village life and facilitate the process of integrating the underprivileged sections of our population with the main stream.
Under village adoption programme more than 500 programmes including Trainings and Expert Lectures, Awareness Camps have been organized on food processing and value addition, postharvest management, product development, entrepreneurship development apart from 150 Product Development Training Programmes at village level in different villages with practical demonstrations of preparations of jams, jellies, pickles, fruit based beverages like mango panna, products like banana chips, dried banana flakes, bakery products like biscuits, cakes, snacks etc and also share project reports for initiating the ventures.
VAP teams also identified about 1546 prospective entrepreneurs in their respective villages and adjoining areas who will be further given training to establish ventures in agro-food processing. They will be imparted One week training programme and those selected will be taken up for one month EDP programme in regional centers followed by 1 month of industrial training programme. In recently completed VAP in March 2015, about 250 such entrepreneurs were trained in selected pilot locations by imparting One week training programme.
Team NIFTEM also catalogued more than 500 tradition recipes across the country from adopted villages and selected 10 of these recipes under Make in India research initiative for scientific interventions, quality management, protocol development and standardization for commercial production. Nearly 15 food industries are collaborating with NIFTEM in this Make in India programme. Efforts also led to creation of 25 NIFTEM Gyan Kendras (small library in the Village). Apart from this, various video shows, campaigns, handout and phamplet distribution activities were also carried out villages to raise awareness among youth and prospective entrepreneurs.
VAP teams has networked with district administration and worked diligently for creation of tangible infrastructure like development of roads linking to main roads, access to potable water, repair of drains, creation of sanitation facilities by creating awareness about government schemes and subsidies on creating pukka toilets in houses, development of school building, plantation drives, addressing meal quality issues in mid day meals schemes of Anganwadi, etc. Amazingly the efforts yielded construction of more than 220 pukka toilets in the associated villages, about 27 vermi-composting units and about 38 initiatives were going on for renovation of roads, drains, school building, anganwadi infrastructure, installation of clean drinking water sources. In ten of these villages solar street lights & solar pumps were installed. Solar lamps are also introduced which helps the rural children to study after darkness.
Swaach Bharat Abhiyan was taken up very rigorously and about 35 dedicated programmes were organized to raise awareness about this programme leading to cleanliness drive in school, in respective village and nearby locations. Teams also created Core teams in Village schools to sustain the campaign.
Now NIFTEM is in the process of planning the launching of a programme for skilling the entrepreneurs in all the selected locations by starting One week training programme on food processing in the remaining village locations followed by a follow up four weeks advanced training on entrepreneurship development to the selected entrepreneurs so as to take them to the logical end of establishing micro enterprise. This programme would be followed by a six months “Hand Holding Phase” so that the trained entrepreneur is assisted in all the activities of taking loan from the bank, procurement of equipments and machinery, marketing tie ups. Efforts are also being made to establish Primary Processing cum Pre-Cooling centre in the village, which could become the hub for hands-on training of farmers and rural youth in food processing and also provide limited CA storage to the farmers for their perishable fruits and vegetables. Attempts are being made to develop a Hybrid Energy System (Solar+ Biomass+ Grid Electricity) to run theses primary processing centres.