Background of the Program
The Food Engineering is the youngest science based Engineering profession which has been cultivated quickly and gets great attention in the country. Three year study curriculum was designed in Food Technology program in 1993 E.C. under Engineering Faculty of Bahir Dar University. Forty eight students were graduated in Food Technology advanced diploma in 1995 and 1996 who are the pioneer for this profession. In 1997, the program was upgrade to four year study named as Bachelor of Science in Food and Biochemical Technology. Since the establishment of the degree program, three batches were graduated and most of them are working from the level of production supervision to the general manager position in various food and beverage industries. With help of Engineering Capacity building program (ecbp), the program was extended to five years study and named as Food Technology and Food Process Engineering, in which four batches have been graduated since 2004E.C.
The name of the curriculum is currently changed to Food Engineering which is designed for 2007 entries. This curriculum incorporates demanding engineering courses which improves the quality of its graduates to address the need of the industry. Its development is crucial to meet national growth and transformation plan focused on agriculture-led- industrialization development policy of the country. Thus, the Food Engineering Program at Bahir Dar Institute of Technology has to play its share of responsibility in agro-processing sector.
The Food Engineering Program aims to train autonomous professionals with the values and professional competencies to apply scientific, technological and engineering knowledge to design industrial food processes, upgrade existing classical production methods, develop food products, design and manage quality systems from the perspective of sustainable social development. Graduates are trained to write up, design and execute engineering projects related to the food industry. This is all focused on the higher productivity, greater economic benefits, taking into account food security and respect for the environment.
Food engineering profession is unique among other engineering professions. All engineering profession (including food engineering) use and manipulate mathematics, physics, and engineering art to solve technical problems in a safe and economical fashion. In addition, Food engineering includes the vast application of other disciplines such as food chemistry, physics, microbiology and nutrition in order to manufacture and distribution of food products for the common good of our society. This makes the scope of Food Engineering much broader discipline.
In Ethiopia, the age of the profession in food is not more than 15 years. Its practice is not well developed and recognized in the country. However, Food Engineering is very important to handled agriculture produces and processed them to value added food products that are needed by consumers and have stable shelf life. Even though, much work has been left to be done ahead, it is obvious that Food engineering and food engineers have indispensable role in realizing the industrial development of the country.
Rational of the Program
Ethiopia has been following an agriculture-led- industrialization development policy for over a decade and half. The policy aims at transforming agriculture (the backbone of country’s economy) from subsistence production to a market led production, thus stimulating the agroprocessing sector as an expanding market and providing it both with foreign currency as well as value-additions on necessary inputs for its development. It is clearly shown that the policy has put the country on an economic growth and development path.
Now a day, food processing industries get great recognition in Ethiopia as a high-priority area. In order to achieve the expected returns on investment through good quality and right value addition, application of technology and Engineering has become imperative, leading to an unprecedented demand for scientists, technologists, Engineers and other professionals who can manage the emerging challenges of the food processing industry effectively.
The importance of food engineering program has to be greatly enhanced in scenario of the country today. Agriculture could be self-sufficient as far as productions or agricultural yield is concerned. But due to gross insufficiency of food processing, lack of proper transport & storage facilities, our farmers who deserve to be the’ greatest hero’ turns out to be the ‘greatest looser’.
This is the reason that our government has offered maximum support to Agro-processing industry under its growth and transformation plan. In this sector, the hope of today’s Ethiopian therefore is the Food Engineers who can transform agricultural raw materials to shelf stable and valuable products maintaining the quality and safety of food products. Population increment in the country coupled with postharvest losses, consumers’ demand for better quality, safe, shelf-stable and convenience foods needs such an innovative field of study; food engineering. The program will have great role in adding value to primary agricultural products through appropriate Technology & post harvest loss management to attain food security. Developing food processing and preservation methods for value addition on the agricultural produces in the country. Furthermore, environmental sustainability can be enhanced by utilizing environmental-friendly technologies and converting food wastes to useful products.
The policy endorsed by the government on agriculture-led industrialization demands capacity building on trained manpower which comprises understanding, analyzing and evaluating bioand physicochemical changes in the transformation of agricultural raw materials to safe, nutritious, wholesome and acceptable food products. The policy will be ensured when food security is attained, new foreign Technologies are adopted and induced taking specific Ethiopian situation into account and upgrading indigenous technologies, generate income, create employment opportunities by entering into value chain system, food products are diversified to satisfy consumer demand, create educated entrepreneurs and agro-businesses and convert food wastes and low grade or by products into more valuable materials.
The role of Food Engineers in bridging the gap between agriculture, health and food sciences and industrial processing will undoubtedly lead to fundamental changes which are desired for the nation. Therefore training of professionals in Food Engineering insisting on both quality and adaptability for various situations, skills and technology which will be required and quite crucial for a country whose economy is agro-based and endowed with unexploited indigenous technology diversity waiting for research and development.
Taking this fact, to produce trained human resources fit for the purpose leading to modern Food industries development and to improve the livelihoods of the society Bahir Dar University, Bahir Dar Institute of Technology is designed B.Sc. program in Food Engineering program.
Mission and Objectives of the program
As a bachelor’s degree program, the graduates are broadly equipped with undergraduate studies in engineering and scientific disciplines for variety of positions. The program provides proper knowledge and skills that promote behavioural changes and intensively encourages continuous learning and professional development.
Food Engineering Program aims to provide graduates with contemporary knowledge and skills to design and produce safe, high-quality and economical value-added food products and systems; to conduct scientific and applied researches and to extend accumulated knowledge and skills to the respective benefits of food industry and society.
In order to accomplish its mission the program identified six educational objectives. These are:
Educate students to effectively practice their profession to solve problems and make appropriate decisions in an efficient and timely manner
Prepare students to compete in the 21st century’s technological developments by providing them with professional and personal skills and abilities appropriate for food engineering profession
Educate and train students to obtain knowledge and skills to analyze and design by considering the effects of food engineering practices on health, environment and social welfare.
Create autonomous professionals in food engineering discipline through active teaching learning process.
Enable students to take pioneering, entrepreneurial and innovative roles in private and public enterprises and institutions for food processing, design and development of new products.
Educate students capable of design and manage quality systems to obtain food products with technical and microbiological quality required as safe products and from an ecological and sustainable perspective