Opportunities of Packaging Technology in Entrepreneurship Development for North East India
Dr. Miftahul Islam Barbaruah
The word ‘Technology’ means ‘to shift ‘or ‘to change’ and was used in relation of human pursuit to
change nature rather than being controlled by it. The idea of man changing nature is linked to very
notion of “Entrepreneurship”. For a normal entrepreneur, technology is a means to end and not an end
in itself. Jim Collins, in his book ‘Good to Great’, describes technology as an accelerator. An
entrepreneur puts his idea into this accelerator to achieve his or her goal. Since technology is just an
accelerator, quality or feasibility of an entrepreneurial idea is important. In the context of such inter-
relationship between Technology and Entrepreneurship, it is imperative to look into opportunities a
technology brings for an entrepreneur.
Many describes ‘Packaging’ as a separate “P” of well known “Marketing Mix” e.g. Product, Place, Price
and Promotion, balance of which is essential for profitability of any enterprise. An entrepreneur today
considers packaging not just for containing his product but also for numerous reasons such as:
To Protect e.g. To preserve, enhance shelf life and to prevent damage or breakage
To Promote e.g. Branding, Appeal
To Describe ( For product differentiation, consumer awareness and statutory requirements )
To ensure food safety.
To ensure consumer convenience e.g. Big packet Vs Sachet
For easy and economic transport.
For efficient retailing e.g. shelf space, matching with purchasing power etc.
The need for packaging described above aptly indicates importance of location specific dimension in
promoting packaging technology for entrepreneurship. The North Eastern region of India brings unique
challenges in terms of environment, consumer preferences, supply chain management, capacities (both
at institutional and individual level) etc. Inadequate scale and scattered production clusters makes
aggregation of produce and post harvest handling / processing difficult and costly in North east India.
One therefore essentially needs to evaluate a packaging option keeping this in mind. Documented
learning from initiatives related to establishment of Common Packaging / branding Unit for small scale
enterprise will be useful in this regard. The entrepreneurs of the region that are mostly first generation
entrepreneurs’ needs handholding technical assistance to design, mobilize resources, evaluate
technology, initiate and up -scale their projects on profitable terms. Handholding in packaging context
can be assistance in networking, relationship management, consumer study and continuous firm level
guidance for evaluation of technological options. The entrepreneurship development efforts within the
region need to go beyond just creation of awareness on technology, setting up of tool room and support
for marketing of produce through organization of exhibitions. The ongoing efforts aimed at working on a
clear framework for capacity building covering needed technical and functional capabilities across
individual, Institutional and environment dimension should get the needed focus.
North Eastern region of India can offer numerous unique products that are not only tasty, nutritious but
also healthy and organic by default. Packaging can be a means to take these products to a larger and
distant market. Appropriate packaging with focus on description can also help in tapping the high paying
niche markets. Supply side interventions in the last few years have lead to surplus production of many
agricultural commodities. Raw material supply may not remain a constraint in the days to come.
Demand side interventions are also being made to facilitate aggregation, storage and processing. The
changing socio-political scenario of the region, government policies in the last few years have shown
ample opportunities for growth. Enterprises in the region need to ride on accelerators like packaging
technology to compete in the domestic and global market.
The author is a Guwahati (Assam) based development facilitator. He is currently working as Consultant of Ministry
of Agriculture, GOI, Director of Vet Helpline (India) Pvt. Ltd and Chief Development Strategist of FARMER
(Fellowship for Agri Resource Management and Entrepreneurship Research : www.farmer.net.in ). Contact: