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Aahar expo under way

Staff Reporter

It showcases food and food processing equipment



A DIFFERENT EXPO: Rajiv Yadav, executive director, India Trade Promotion Organisation, at Aahar 2006 at the Chennai Trade Centre on Wednesday. — Photo: Shaju John

CHENNAI: The south can now claim an Aahar exhibition of its own, with the inauguration of the first annual expo at the Chennai Trade Centre on Wednesday.

Rajiv Yadav, executive director, India Trade Promotion Organisation, who inaugurated the fair, said 85 companies set up stalls in the 2,500-sqm hall. He compared the size of the hall to that where Aahar 2006 was held in New Delhi, which was more than 15,000 sqm.

"If we maintain 15-20 per cent growth, attendance should double in three years, and in five [years], we should be able to occupy all the halls," Mr. Yadav said. Convenio Foods International is a processed food company with a prominent display location. M.S.M. Batcha, Convenio's marketing manager, expects to generate business worth Rs. 15-20 lakh at the fair.

The fair showcases food, food processing and hotel/restaurant equipment.

M.K. Baskar, sales manager of SAJ Masterchef Food Products from Kerala, said Aahar was different as it included food processors and equipment manufacturers, allowing direct exchange, unlike other fairs.

Other products being displayed ranged from health foods to ice cream machines, new soft drinks to kitchen bowls. The exhibition will be on till September 23.

One more hall

The Chennai Trade Centre will soon have one more hall. From an annual turnover of Rs. 45 lakh in 2001, the centre's business grew to Rs. 12.5 crore this year, said R. Sudalaikannan, managing director, Tamil Nadu Trade Promotion Organisation. Roughly, half of the amount went to the Indian Trade Promotion Organisation and the rest stayed with the Tamil Nadu Government. The centre currently had Rs. 5 lakh in cash surplus.

Since funding was not an issue, the centre expected to complete the new hall by the next financial year, Mr. Yadav said. Details such as architecture and size needed to be fixed, but the aim was to make it bigger than the existing halls and to build a large kitchen to cater for all the events.

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