A two day training program for small scale food vendors in the Badulla district was successfully held at the Uva Wellassa University on December 13 and 14, 2014. The main aim of this event was to strengthen the small scale street food venders in Uva Region. The programme was organized by the Industrial Coordination Cell (UICC) of the Uva Wellassa University.
Food and beverage is a fundamental need for each and every citizen and it has become primarily important due to the changing socioeconomic conditions of the country. As a result, street side food vendors are mushrooming in many locations serving day to day food and refreshment requirements of the community. It also has become a good enterprise option for people to earn their living. Uva region being sub-urban, a considerable number of people depends on street-side food which a lot of food safety and hygienic issues are present. Absence of proper understanding, poor awareness of the gravity of running a food service business, lack of professionalism and negligence of food safety and hygiene principles are most common issues in street-side food business. The consumers suffer in purchasing such food, while some other segments escape from consuming from such stalls. On the other hand, the vendors find it difficult to run the business continuously over the time due to their lack of knowledge in business management.
Uva Wellassa University, Center of Excellence for Value Additionhas been always enthusiastic in providing necessary technological and educational assistance for strengthening local community in the region. The Industrial Coordination Cell of Uva Wellassa University initiated the first step towards uplifting small and micro entrepreneurs with this training workshop for the small scale street-side food vendors in Uva region after researching the existing commercial establishments.
As a concept of the former council member Mr. Mahinda Katugaha the program was initiated with the guidance and instructions given by Dr. Gamini Chandrasena, Vice Chancellor of Uva Wellassa University.
The key objective of this training programme was to introduce strategies to improve their business performance with a more customer focused service operation. The importance of financial and banking, healthy and nutritional food service operation, food production and presentation and introducing the legal background for food related operations were key events of theprogram.
35 Participants were selected for more effective programme after screening all the applications from small scale street side food operators in Uva region. The opening ceremony was held on December 13, 2014 at the University auditorium with the participation of Deans of the Faculties, Heads of Departments, Lecturers, Administration Officers and Resource Personnel from the industry.
A practical approach to the food safety, hygiene and nutritional importance was conducted by Dr. Sandun Abeyrathna, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Animal Science and Export Agriculture of Uva Wellassa University. The entire programme consisted with two practical sessions; a main meal preparation and pastry item preparation by Chef T.M.C. Tennakoon, Senior Lecturer, Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management, Bandarawela. The food preparation sessions were really attractive and participants actively engaged with the session. The resources of the University main kitchen and restaurant used for the practical sessions of Hospitality, Tourism and Events Management degree programme were utilized for the practical sessions.
Officers of the super grade branch of Bank of Ceylon (BOC), Badulla, educated the participants to the importance of banking and financing for a small scale business operations. The participants got an opportunity to discuss about practical issues on loan and financial matters with the officers. The health issues and nutritional side of the food related operations were discussed by the Dr. Manjula Jinasena, University Medical Officer of the Uva Wellassa University. Practical aspects of food service operations and the legal framework for them were discussed by Mr. Ravindra Jayawardhana, Public Health Inspector of Badulla.
The entire training programme was very attractive and all participants were actively spoken for the sessions. The programme was highly appreciated at the discussion session. According to the coordinator of UICC, Dr. P.I.N. Fernando, Dean, Faculty of Management, there will be more practical training programmes for the small and medium entrepreneurs of the Uva Region. The programme was organized by the Lecturers of the Faculty of Management and sponsored by Bank of Ceylon, and Mr. Mahinda Katugaha , former Council Member of Uva Wellassa University.