The Central Institute of Fisheries and Technology (CIFT) in Kochi, Kerala, India, inaugurated a 5,000-square metre business incubation centre at their premises in Kochi. The centre was inaugurated by Dr S Ayyappan, Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) and Director General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

The business incubation centre will nurture the development of technology-based and knowledge-driven agri-business ventures. The centre will help ventures during the start-up period (2-3 years) by providing an integrated package of technology, work space, shared office services, access to specialised equipment and pilot plant.

Value-added services such as management assistance, market research, business planning, access to seed capital, technical assistance, training, accreditation and networking support would also be provided, a press release issued here said.

The primary goal of the centre is to produce successful businesses that are able to operate independently. The incubation centre can accommodate nine ventures at a time.

Dr Ayyappan said, “Innovation and integration of available technologies is the need of the hour for which agri-incubator centre like the one at CIFT, Cochin should lead the country. Forty technologies have already been commercialised in the ICAR system through units set up all over India.

The business incubator facility at CIFT is a ‘one-stop-shop’ for budding entrepreneurs. About 100 such incubators are to be set during the 12{+t}{+h} Plan. The ICAR scientists are presently on a ‘farmer first’ drive devoting 25 per cent of their time for farmer-friendly technologies. Secondary agriculture is gaining momentum in the ICAR system in which CIFT is a pioneer by introducing the production of chitin and chitosan from prawn shell waste about 30 years back.

Delivering the Presidential address, Dr T K Srinivasa Gopal, CIFT Director said that the Institute had helped in setting up India’s first ‘zero-waste’ seafood industry at Mr Sulthan Singh’s Unit at Karnal in Haryana.

2012, The Hindu Business Line