Imagine an illiterate woman teaching an M Tech student on how to make a confectionery or the famous `Kakinada kaja' sweet? In what could be a unique initiative, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University-Kakinada (JNTU-K) is tying up with self-help groups (SHGs) manufacturing Andhra delicacies and cuisines to give orientation classes for students pursuing M Tech in Food Processing Technology.
"The students will be given training on the manufacturing methods of delicious dishes. We will tie up with more firms dealing with food processing in future," JNTU-K vice chancellor Allam Appa Rao said. The V-C claimed that the M Tech course in Food Processing Technology offered by the university was first of its kind in Andhra Pradesh. "Apart from an orientation in engineering, we want to focus on food processing and provide on-field experience to the students," he said.
Students would be given training in the making of much sought-after items like 'Pootharekulu', `Tapeswaram kaja', 'Kakinada kaja', and other delicacies. Suruchi Foods, which manufactures Tapeswaram kaja in bulk and sends it to various parts of the country, was roped in to impart training to the PG students.
Sources said the university is planning to rope in more SHGs to conduct orientation classes for the students. University director E V Prasad said that they would also go for tie-ups with MNCs like Nestle, Tata Tea, Haldirams and a few others to offer better training to students.
Head of the food processing department P Ramakrishna said the students would be sent to select food processing units to acquaint themselves with various functional roles in the industry like HRD, material management, production, maintenance, marketing, finance and R&D. He said the food industry could make use of the students for a period of 4-5 months by assigning projects to them in any of the disciplines. He said the food processing course offers a bright career too.
Suruchi Foods proprietor P V V S Mallikarjuna Rao was also asked by the varsity authorities to conduct the orientation programme.
The students said that exposure at the MNCs involved in food processing sector would help them gain more knowledge. "We want to get the know-how in different segments of the food processing sector so that we could have good placements after the completion of the course," a student averred.