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WFI hackathon brings forth tech solutions for tackling food processing challenges

Libza Mannan
posted on 1st November 2017
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The two-day-long World Food India hackathon was held ahead of the three-day mega event World Food India 2017. Over 67  teams participated in the initiative and presented their solutions for challenges faced by the food processing sector.

 As India gets ready to host its biggest food event World Food India 2017, aimed at transforming the food economy and doubling farmers’ income, Ministry of Food Processing Industries organised a hackathon on October 27 and 28 in New Delhi. The two-day-long hackathon witnessed discussions around ‘Developing innovative technology enabled solutions for challenges faced by food processing sector’ and students, entrepreneurs, startups and technology enthusiasts from across the country presented their solutions.

Over 156 teams from across the country registered for the World Food India hackathon, of which 67 teams were selected to present their solutions to an eminent jury.

The three winning teams of the hackathon will be announced and felicitated by President Ram Nath Kovind at the valedictory session of World Food India on November 5, 2017.

Opportunities galore

The event was organised with a vision to encourage and strengthen the opportunities that young India can contribute towards the high potential food industry, which is set to receive $10-billion investment in the next two years. More than one million jobs are expected to be created in the food processing industry in the next three years. An expert panel of mentors drawn from academia and practitioners helped the participating teams in developing effective and robust solutions that were presented to an eminent jury, which scored the shortlisted solutions on implementation feasibility, novelty of the idea and technical robustness.

Jagdish Prasad Meena, Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries addressing the audience

“World Food India is a platform to showcase the potential of our food processing sector to the world and eliminate inefficiencies in the system. As a part of this larger initiative, we intend to harness the young talent of the country, and it is heartening to see such an overwhelming response for the hackathon. We are confident that the next three years are going to be extraordinary in bringing out the best, with such young minds at work. We look forward to seeing more talent coming into the industry and the government will extend full support to facilitate taking some of these ideas to reality,” said Jagdish Prasad Meena, Secretary, Ministry of Food Processing Industries.

Problems plaguing the food sector

The two-day event witnessed teams discussing and presenting ideas on various issues for which solutions need to be developed including food wastage and its carbon footprint, foolproof traceability of milk procurement & processing, measuring freshness and quality of fruits & vegetables, lack of awareness on global manufacturing practices & global hygiene practices, non-availability of information on key performance indicators (KPIs) for different stages of food processing, information on backward & forward linkages for farmers, lack of centralised information on opportunities for MSMEs in food processing sector, recommended practices for producing suitable raw material for processing, easily accessible repository of culinary information & recipes of traditional foods and measuring nutritional value of food & dietary requirement of consumers, among others.

One of the participating teams at the hackathon

The panel of jury members for the event included Bijaya Kumar Behera, Economic Advisor, Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Government of India, Rahul Mirchandani, Chairman and Managing Director, Aries Agro, Tarun Gupta - ‎Chief Technology Officer (Retail), ‎ Cognizant Technology Solutions India, L Shiva Kumar, Senior Vice President & Head - Food Business, Walmart India and Shrikant Sinha, Chief Executive Officer, NASSCOM Foundation, among others.

Participating teams

In the first round, participants were required to submit their entries along with a brief writeup on 10 mentioned problem statements. A total of 156 applications were received across all parts of India, out of which 67 were shortlisted.

The shortlisted teams, who had come from different parts of the country, including Haryana, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Ambala, Rajasthan, Mumbai, among others showcased their solution and prototype in the hackathon.

Besides startups like Prompt Equipments aimed at introducing dairy industry devices in the market to help milk producer, the hackathon saw the participation of mainly students from institutions like IIT Delhi, Jamia Millia Islamia, Amity University, Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology, Delhi Technological University and more.

Participant Sagarika P, who is a Biotechnology student at Kumaraguru College of Technology adds, “World Food India hackathon was a great platform for us to gain confidence. It was an incredible learning experience as the platform provided exposure, connecting us with experts from the food industry.”

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