Courses offered by CFTRI have recognition throughout the world

Here is some food for thought for those with a passion for food. Despite the unlimited scope and potential the exotic world of food science and technology offers, it is virtually untapped as a career option. And if experts at the Food World 2009 conference held in Mumbai recently are to be believed, India's food industry is slated to grow to nearly $ 320 billion by the financial year 2020 from its current level of $ 180 billion.

The fact that India is not only one of the world's largest producers but has a large domestic market base as well, underlines the role of the food industry in driving the nation's economy. That opportunities for food science technologists and scientists are opening up can be gauged from the SWOT analysis on food processing sector conducted by the Central Government.

It went on to identify the opportunities: large crop and material base offering vast potential for agro-processing activities; establishing SEZ and food parks for providing added incentive to develop greenfield projects; rising income levels and changing consumption patterns; favourable demographic profile and changing lifestyles; integration of development in contemporary technologies such as electronics, material science, biotechnology etc which offer vast scope for rapid improvement and progress; and opening of global markets.

Again, the size of the urban food market alone is reckoned to be Rs.3,50,000 crore in India and is growing and yet, the industry has been described as “nascent” which means the demand for specialists in food industry will increase.

Vast opportunities

And what does all these indicate? Opportunities unlimited. But this calls for specialised knowledge and education in food science and technology and most universities offer related courses one way or the other.

The Mysore-based Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), which is a constituent laboratory of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), is an internationally reputed institute which offers M.Sc in Food Technology. The course is of four-semester duration.

Admission is by way of entrance test and admission notification for the academic years 2010-12 will be published in April 2010 while the course commences in the third week of August every year. The degree is awarded by the University of Mysore.

The course with 16 subjects and electives in the final semester prepares the graduates for a career in industry or high-end research while providing the more entrepreneurial individuals with a sound footing in the food world to enable them to launch their own enterprise.

For the record, CFTRI has major technological milestones in the country's quest for food security and the list makes for exhaustive reading. But it is suffice to point out that its formulation of Amul infant food is the basis for the flourishing baby food manufacturing industry in the country today.

And it is in these laboratories under the watchful eyes of highly-qualified scientists and specialised teachers as faculty members that students go through the academic rigour with a multi-disciplinary approach, the kind of which cannot be offered by most universities.

The admission criteria for post-graduate courses is a degree in Science with Chemistry as one of the major subjects with a background in mathematics at the +2 level. With its state-of-the-art laboratory and sprawling campus, CFTRI is also reckoned to be one of its kind in Asia and the world and it is no wonder that students completing its M.Sc course or scientists working in it are in demand not only in India but throughout the world.

Short-term courses

CFTRI also offers a post-graduate course in Food Science by research apart from several short-term specialised courses for working professionals keen to enhance their skills or update their knowledge base or those embarking on a career in food science from a related field.

Among the more popular ones is a residential course in Floor Milling Technology of 12-month duration.

Hundreds of professionals in the field of flour milling technology have graduated, including students from more than 25 countries.

This apart, CFTRI is a recognised centre for doctoral and post-doctoral research and for scholars pursuing their Ph.D.

For more details about the CFTRI and its full-time, short-term and special courses, log on to www.cftri.com