The NutriPlus Knowledge Center, a research platform within the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)’s Agri‑Science Park supported by the Government of Andhra Pradesh, is offering an entrepreneur development workshop on establishing and managing a commercial Sweet Sorghum Syrup enterprise for Food Applications from September 27 to October 1, 2010 at ICRISAT in Patancheru, near Hyderabad. This will be conducted in collaboration with ICRISAT’s Global Theme on Crop Improvement.

Sweet sorghum is a multipurpose crop for the simultaneous production of grain for food, sugary juice for making syrup, jaggery or ethanol; bagasse and green foliage for fodder, biomass for production of bio-gas, organic fertilizer and the manufacture of paper.

ICRISAT Director General William D Dar says, “Sweet sorghum is a smart crop. It could help developing countries to save valuable foreign exchange on importing fuel, which could be ploughed back into its own rural economies. With proper management, smallholder farmers can improve their incomes by 20% compared to alternative crops in dry areas in India.”

Following this, the NutriPlus Knowledge Center has already developed a number of value-added food products from sweet sorghum juice and these are ready for commercialisation by prospective entrepreneurs.

The proposed workshop, the first of its kind, is being organized to bring awareness about the potential of sweet sorghum among prospective entrepreneurs and to enable them to start their own business enterprise based on this crop.

The workshop will deal with harvesting of sweet sorghum and processing of juice to syrup, setting up processing units in micro/ small and medium levels, including potential sources of funding, technology involved, quality control & business perspective. There is no fee involved, but the number of participants is restricted to 25 and will be based on selection.

Interested participants may register by sending their detailed bio data to a.poshadri@cgiar.org (Phone: 04030713784, Mobile: 09492828965) along with a self- written statement on the topic, “Why I want to be a food product entrepreneur” on or before 26 August. The minimum qualification required is graduation in any discipline. Maximum age limit is 35 years. ICRISAT encourages women entrepreneurs to come forward to participate in the training course.