Bangalore, Apr 27 (ANI/Business Wire India): Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI) Director Dr. V Prakash said on Sunday that balanced approach between food and biofuels is required.
He was speaking at the inauguration of Agri-Biotech Day at the eighth edition of Bangalore Bio 2008.
"Biotech industry and all other stake-holders related to food technologies should evolve more balanced approach while using food crops to produce biofuels," said Prakash
He suggested three primary goals for India in the field of food technology namely primary food processing, secondary food processing and industries that manufacture high value added products. Food production by masses should cascade into mass scale production.
"Though the level of food grains produced in India is substantial, it is still not enough to feed majority of our adolescents. Even today most of the children in India are getting only one meal per three days, leave alone nutritional food," said Prakash.
"All stakeholders should think whether it is appropriate for India to produce biofuels using some of the food crops. Instead, we can explore several non-food items for producing biofuels. Most importantly agriculture sector should make effective use of microbes in developing technologies that increase food production," added Prakash.
"In the past few years the booming retail sector led to a 23 per cent growth in food processing sector. Now the focus of food technologies should be to develop nutraceuticals from traditional foods. India has a great repertory of over 2,300 traditional foods and these were well documented over years," said Prakash.
"Keeping in view the call of Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for immediate measures to address the impending food crisis, scientists should suggest suitable measures," said Ashok Kumar C Manoli - Karnataka Principal Secretary for information technology, biotechnology and Science and Technology.
"Food shortage became a world phenomenon in the recent years and it is not just confined to India," he added.
"There is an urgent need to educate the general public about the technologies", said Dr. M Mahadevappa, former Vice Chancellor, UAS Dharwad.
He cited the experience of heading a cell in Department of Biotechnology which facilitates promotion of agro-based technologies. Though there are many agro-biotechnologies, the enquiries from the people for commercial use are just confined to few things such as vermin-compost or agro-waste management.
"India's food consumption is growing at an annual rate of 1.9 per cent whereas food production is growing only at 1.2 per cent annually", said K K Narayanan, President ABLE.
"This is a great concern and biotechnology should find solutions for increased production as we will need about 40 million tones of food per year in the coming years," he added.
For the third time, Bangalore Bio dedicated a full day for agricultural biotechnology.