The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) conducted a two-day training programme on April 28-29, 2022, for frontline leaders of Mutually Aided Cooperative Societies (MACS), board of directors and key leaders from Rythu Nestham Farmer Producer Company Ltd (RNFPCL) from Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh (AP).
The objective of the training programme was to extend knowledge and business skills for continuous engagement with the Secondary Processing Unit (SPU) and to increase turnover and profit margins of their venture.
The training programme, conducted as part of the Anantha Samrudhi project, funded by Walmart Foundation, Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP), not only helped the frontline leaders to understand the fundamentals of business management and food processing operations (FPO) but also plan and prepare for the smooth running of the SPU.
The programme covered topics such as business management, accountability and sense of ownership, food safety and quality, the role of women in promoting dietary diversity and health, nutrition for growing children and mothers, product development as well as production processes, accounting and book-keeping for ensuring the sustainability of the SPU.
“Training and demonstration at the processing unit provided us with step-by-step instructions for making groundnut sesame chikki and we are excited to prepare this kind of snack in our food processing unit. Thanks to AIP ICRISAT for giving this opportunity,” said Revathi Dharmawaram Satya Sai from AP.
The training programme also included a detailed session on food safety and quality in the context of managing the SPU where participants were briefed on various processing lines being established in the SPU. Implementation of food safety management systems and principles of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) were explained in detail, which plays an important role in producing healthy, nutritious and safe food. The importance of personal hygiene and sanitation was also briefed to the participants.
“I’ve learned how to prepare various food products easily. We plan on implementing this training in our FPO and benefitting other farmers in our locality. I am thankful to AIP ICRISAT for inviting me to this training session,” said B Venkant Lakshmi from AP.
Further, hands-on training and demonstration on the processing of ready-to-cook jowar meal and multigrain meal, Peanut roasting, splitting, and butter making, Millet biscuits, Peanut – sesame chikki and cold-pressed groundnut oil were organized at AIP’s pilot processing facility.
“We learned how to make millet biscuits today. We enjoyed the taste of these biscuits, and we were also guided on business management. I’m thankful to AIP ICRISAT for conducting this training,” said R Ramalakshmi from AP.
Along with processing procedures, clear guidance was given regarding the personal hygiene of the food handlers as wearing face masks, hair nets, shoe covers, hand gloves and aprons. They were also trained on good handling practices, good manufacturing practices, the importance of CCPs, HACCP and plant hygiene during the processing of the food products.
Furthermore, a visit was conducted to ICRISAT fields to expose them to the research undertaken by ICRISAT in semi-arid tropic crops such as groundnut, chickpea, red gram, pearl millet, sorghum and finger millet.
The two-day training programme was a success as the participants gained confidence and were eager to implement these newly acquired skills. The mutual interaction and coordination among the participants and resource people resulted in the smooth functioning of the programme.
The programme was inaugurated by Dr Victor Afarisefa, global research programme director-EST, Aravazhi Selvaraj, chief executive officer, AIP and Dr Saikat Datta Mazumdar, cluster leader – nutrition, dietary behaviour and smart food.
Manager agribusiness Purushotham R, senior scientific officer Priyanka D, senior partnership development officer Harshvardhan Mane, food quality analyst G Sindhura Reddy and Y Akhila and other project coordinators – K Ramakiran, Anil Kranti and KN Radha contributed to the successful organisation of the training.