World’s second largest exporter of agricultural produce, Netherlands is keen to explore collaborations with Indian agricultural and dairy entrepreneurs and organisations to innovate technologies that increase the yield, address water issues and achieve the sustainability goals.
A top diplomat from the Netherlands has informed that a collaboration on technology and research would provide scalability and value for the processing industry in India.
Speaking to BusinessLine, Marten van den Berg, Ambassador of the Netherlands to India, Nepal and Bhutan, stated that the country focuses on the areas of agriculture, health, water management and climate change.
“We think there is a huge potential in Indian agriculture sector and there is a need for innovation to increase yield, address water issues, shortages and value-addition. From new crop varieties, high-quality seeds, to increase yields and overall agricultural production, we see a lot of opportunities to bring in Dutch technologies and companies in this huge sector of India,” said the Ambassador.
Dutch companies are bringing technologies on potato and vegetables processing to increase farmers’ incomes and cut down food losses, also, the seeds from Dutch seed companies adapted to Indian agronomic circumstances are well-equipped to help farmers deal with changing (climatic) conditions. This, in addition to expertise on processing biomass and greenhouse technology from the Netherlands is seen enhancing resilience and productivity of farmers.
In the allied sectors such as dairy space, the Netherlands is exploring ways to deploy Dutch technologies to make India’s dairy space more productive and marketable. With an export value of nearly USD 6.4 billion (approx Rs 48,500 crore), the Netherlands is among the world’s major dairy exporters. It has one of the highest milk yield with 1.3 million tonnes of milk production from about 1.5 million cows. As against this, India has total milch animal population of 125.34 million and has annual milk production of 188 million tonnes as on 2018-19.
Dairy farmers use about 60 per cent of the agricultural land in the Netherlands. This is in stark contrast to India, where dairy sector supports about 70 million rural households – mostly small and marginal or landless farmers.
The higher milk yield, according to Berg, is related to better quality cattle-feed – an area of innovation to achieve high productivity. “Also, you need a cold chain to store, treat and transport milk and products in a good condition to sell and export. In the dairy sector we are also looking into possibilities to bring technology innovation and see whether they are applicable also in the Indian context.
We are engaging with the Central ministries in this regard,” said Berg, who is leading a delegation of Dutch Companies for the 10th edition of Agri Asia 2021 trade show in Gandhinagar during December 9-11.
The Netherlands is further exploring a close collaboration with companies, State and Central governments and R&D organisations as well as the academic institutions. Bringing a drastic change and deploy modern technologies remain a challenge considering the traditional practices of farming, Berg noted, “It is important to realise this context to be successful in implement the changes in agriculture. In India, the share of Indian agriculture to the GDP is small considering the number of people involved in it. So there is a need for innovation, to upscale and bring value in processing. All this with a sustainability dimension,” said Berg.
The participant companies came from diverse areas of horticulture and floriculture to processing, seed production and dairy, bringing unique technology solutions to offer to improve agriculture in Gujarat and make it more resilient.
“We aim to showcase and use technologies from the Netherlands to eventually use the expertise and tech to contribute to productivity, earning capacity and resilience of Indian farmers,” said Amlan Bora, Commissioner (Trade & Investment), Netherlands Business Support Office (NBSO) in Ahmedabad.