The National Technology Day celebration | NUCSER

May 11, 2024

The National Technology Day is celebrated on 11th May every year to commemorate the successful Pokhran nuclear test conducted in 1998. The DST Technology Enabling Center, in association with the Nitte University Center for Science Education & Research (NUCSER), Atal Incubation Center (AIC) Nitte, the Institution Innovation Council (IIC) and the ICAR Directorate of Cashew Research (DCR), jointly organized an exposition of technologies and panel discussion on 11th May 2024, in the University Auditorium at Paneer Campus.

Dr. Dinakara Adiga, Director, ICAR, DCR, was the chief guest and Prof. M S Moodithaya, Vice Chancellor Nitte DU, presided over the event. 90 participants including representatives of farmer producing organizations, entrepreneurs in agri-food sector, Mr. Giridhar Prabhu, ex-President, Kanara Chamber of Commerce & Industries, Scientists from DCR, Puttur, faculty & students of NUCSER were present on the occasion.

Dr. Indrani Karunasagar welcomed the gathering and Dr. Iddya Karunasagar emphasized the day's significance and highlighted the importance of bringing together the stakeholders in Agri-Food technology. Dr. AP Achar, CEO, AIC Nitte addressed the gathering regarding the importance and market value of cash crops in this region and stressed the need to improve market potential of locally cultivable agri-food products, to contribute towards the economy. Prof. Moodithaya mentioned how Nitte University is developing an entrepreneurship culture with active collaboration of partner institutions to develop and promote technology.

Dr. Dinakara Adiga, a visionary leader, addressed critical challenges in improving agronomic practices to tackle pest and disease management. In his talk, he detailed on the present growth in the Indian economy in various sectors. He highlighted that production and consumption of cashews has drastically increased in recent years, adding to the country's rising economy. He advised that technological advancement would be needed on product development and automatization, which can resolve the problem of labor scarcity. He also emphasized that more value-added organic products need to be produced to ensure complete utilization of the organic agri products.

Ms. Gabriella D'Cruz, a scientist and entrepreneur, managing a seaweed-producing firm, The Good Ocean in Goa, was the invited speaker. She narrated her journey of becoming an entrepreneur and developing a seaweed processing firm. She explained the nutritional value of seaweed and how it can be used to address the deficiency of vitamins & minerals. She also discussed the challenges associated with seaweed culture and consumption, like sustainable biomass supply, crustacean allergies, and the requirement of cold chains for maintaining freshness and overcoming fishy smell and taste to improve product palatability.

A panel discussion session was held with the panelists that included Mr. Giridhar Prabhu, CEO Achal Cashews; Ms Gabriella D'Cruz; Dr Mamatha B S, Asst. Professor, NUCSER; Dr Balasubramanian, Principal Scientist, ICAR, DCR & Mr Ravish Kumar, Entrepreneur - Sharanya Enterprises. The entire session was moderated by Dr Iddya Karunasagar. During the discussion, the panelist briefed about various agri-food products in their sector, like seaweed, cashews, ice-creams with natural flavours, and value addition to whey, a dairy waste. They also discussed on the gaps, practical problems faced by the sector and potential research areas that need to be focused - for instance, effective extraction of pro-anthocyanin, a component of anacardic acid that has anticancer properties, development of higher-yielding varieties of cashew etc.

The vote of thanks was proposed by Dr Anirban Chakraborty, Director, NUCSER. The participants visited the technological exposition of technologies and products developed at NUCSER and at DCR Puttur and discussed the technologies with scientists.