Q1. Sir, could you please tell our readers about the market potential for the processing of Wheat-based products?

Wheat-based foods include pasta, noodles, semolina, and couscous. With the changing food habits of the population and urbanization, the demand for wheat-based products is increasing across the country. The youth/children are inclined toward fast foods consisting of different wheat products. The market potential for Wheat-based products is huge in India. The Wheat market is poised to grow at a CAGR of 4.1% by 2027 and the flour market is supposed to grow at 20% as estimated by different agencies.

Q.2. Could you please tell us about the support and facilities provided by the ICAR-Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research (IIWBR) to micro food processing enterprises?

ICAR-IIWBR, Karnal has well-established and state-of-the-art facilities for the estimation of different quality components of wheat grain and flour. Any enterprise dealing in the Wheat business can get samples tested at minimal cost at ICAR-IIWBR, Karnal.

Q3. What are the major value-added products that can be made from Wheat processing?

Bread, crumpets, muffins, noodles, pasta, biscuits, cakes, pastries, cereal bars, sweet and savory snack foods, crackers, crisp bread, sauces, and confectionery products.


Q4. Could you please tell us about the Wheat-based research and development carried out by ICAR-Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research (IIWBR) and interesting research outcomes that you have come across in all these years?

Record production of wheat for five consecutive years was observed with an all-time record production of 109.52 million tonnes during 2020-21. This was achieved due to the development of new high-yielding varieties with better disease resistance and improved quality under the All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on Wheat and Barley with ICAR-IIWBR as the nodal agency. Through coordinated research efforts, nearly 517 Wheat and 108 Barley varieties suited to different agro-ecological conditions and growing situations have been released so far. Recently, 22 fortified Wheat varieties for protein, iron and zinc have been released. Varietal Replacement Rate of 82.73% was achieved and for the first time, ICAR-IIWBR varieties came under the top 10 DAC top indented lists (DBW 187-Ist rank, DBW303-2nd rank & DBW222-7th rank). A total of 217 licenses were issued for seed production of three Wheat varieties; DBW303, DBW187, DBW222 and two Barley varieties; DWRB182, DWRB160 generating total revenue of Rs.187.92 lakhs. Lr80, a new widely effective leaf rust resistance gene was identified from local Wheat Hango-2, which confers resistance to yellow rust pathogen, Puccinia triticina in India.

Q5. With the immense experience that you have gathered over the period, how do you think the PMFME Scheme would be able to empower micro food processing enterprises?

PMFME scheme will support the food processing enterprises in terms of the following activities:
i. Food processing entrepreneurs will be provided with credit-linked capital subsidy @35% of the eligible project cost with a maximum ceiling of Rs.10 lakh per unit.
ii. Seed capital @ Rs. 40,000/- per SHG member for working capital and purchase of small tools.
iii. Credit linked grant of 35% for capital investment to FPOs/ SHGs/ producer cooperatives.
iv. Support for marketing & branding to micro-units.
v. Support for common infrastructure and handholding support to SHGs, FPOs, and Producer Cooperatives.
vi. Providing Capacity building and training support to increase the capabilities of the enterprises and up-gradation of skills of workers.

Q6. What would be your advice to aspiring food processing entrepreneurs?

There is a huge potential for research collaboration between ICAR-IIWBR, Karnal, and food processing entrepreneurs. Together, we can achieve the food security targets of India. Bio-fortified varieties have huge potential to cope with the challenge of malnutrition in the country.

About Dr. Gyanendra P. Singh

Dr. Gyanendra Pratap Singh presently Director, ICAR-Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research, Karnal graduated from Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in 1984 with Malaviya Gold Medal. Dr. Singh completed post-graduation in 1988 from BHU in the field of genetics and plant breeding. He was awarded a doctoral degree from CSAUA&T, Kanpur in 1992 in the field of genetics and plant breeding. Dr. Singh started his professional career in 1994 from CPRI, Shimla after completing the mandatory NAARM training for 11 months from 12th April 1993. Later he transferred to DWR, Karnal in 1996 as a scientist. After serving for around 5 years at DWR, Karnal, he moved to ICAR-IARI, New Delhi as a senior scientist in 2001. Later from 2001 onwards, he rendered service at ICAR-IARI, New Delhi, in the Division of Genetics before leaving ICAR-IARI to take up the new assignment as a Director, ICAR-Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research, Karnal from 04th August 2016.

Dr. Singh has been instrumental in the development of 51 Wheat (5 biofortified varieties) and 03 Barley varieties and 01 Potato variety benefitting multitude of farmers, consumers, and industries. He is the main force behind the development and fast spreading of improved Wheat technologies including DBW 187, and DBW 222, HD 2967, HD 3086, and DBW 173 as these are readily adopted by farmers as evident from top breeder seed indent and also large number of licensing (950 licenses) through institute’s business incubation model.

Dr. Singh took painstaking efforts in successful mitigation of wheat blast threat in India through pre-emptive breeding and surveillance programme by initiating a strong coordination among ICAR, DARE, DAC&FW, SDA and WB government.

Evidently, his credentials and accomplishments in wheat development garnered him the popular tag of “Wheat Man of India”.

About ICAR-Indian Institute of and Barley Research (IIWBR), Karnal, Haryana

In India, the Wheat research started in an organized manner exactly a hundred years ago during the British period after joining of Sir Howards as the Imperial Botanist at Pusa (Bihar) in 1905. Later on, with the establishment of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research in 1935, it became the main funding agency and promoter of Wheat research in India and the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) played an important role in Wheat Research related activities. An important milestone in this process was the establishment of the All India Coordinated Wheat Improvement Project (AICWIP) in 1965 by the ICAR. The AICWIP was elevated to the status of the Directorate of Wheat Research in 1978 and in 1990 it moved from IARI, New Delhi, to its present location at Karnal, 130 km north of Delhi along with two regional stations located at Flowerdale, Shimla and Dalang Maidan (Lahaul valley). In 2014, it became an institute, ICAR-Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research. By doing so, the ICAR formalized the establishment of a distinct institutional identity for the second most important cereal crop in the country.

(Content shared by ICAR-Indian Institute of and Barley Research (IIWBR), Karnal, Haryana)

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the above guest and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries.