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Dutch Government to Assist Gujarat with Saline Farming

The Dutch and the Gujarat governments are in talks over improving farming in salinity ingressed waters of the state's shoreline. The Netherlands Business Support Office (NBSO) in Ahmedabad has even indicated that a 'Centre of Excellence' (CoE) is coming up for the purpose in Gujarat.

Ayushi Raina
Saline Farming
Saline Farming

The Dutch and Gujarat governments are discussing ways to improve farming in salinity-infested waters along the state's shoreline. The Netherlands Business Support Office (NBSO) in Ahmedabad told that a 'Centre of Excellence' (CoE) is being established in Gujarat for this purpose. 

"There were discussions which were already happening in Gujarat (before to the Covid-19 crisis) about establishing a Center of Excellence in saline farming. A large portion of Gujarat's land is salinized, not just near the coast but also in the hinterland. The salinity is higher than what can be grown in traditional farming "Amlan Bora, Trade and Investment Commissioner of the Netherlands Business Support Office (NBSO), told reporters. 

Bora stated that the Netherlands faced a similar issue, with a large portion of the country below sea level. Almost 27 per cent of the Netherlands is below sea level. 

"Over the last fifteen years, the Dutch has developed ways of farming in saline waters in collaboration with Wageningen University, the world's most prestigious agricultural university, and working with seed companies, water corporations, and building a consortium," Bora added. 

"Surprisingly, producing in saline waters requires less fresh water than traditional farming. We had a couple of  of discussions with the Gujarat administration, but unfortunately, the Covid-19 situation worsened "he asserted. 

"This has the potential to reduce the salinity ingressed parts of the state. This is undoubtedly one area where such a Center of Excellence may be established, but it all relies on the interests and willingness of both the parties "Bora said. 

Soil salinity is harming significant portions of the world, affecting millions of farmers, many of whom are forced to relocate. Salt-tolerant crops can assist these farmers in increasing yields and providing a good living in salt-affected areas. 

The Dutch government has established seven Centers of Excellence in various parts of India, across numerous states, according to Marten van den Berg, the Netherlands' Ambassador to India, Nepal, and Bhutan. These centers span a wide range of sectors, including potatoes, vegetables, dairy, etc. 

"These CoE will be not having a very high end technologies, but low and medium technologies. But it is very important to teach the farmers to adapt these technologies," said the Dutch Ambassador. 

Berg also hinted that there might be a CoE in Gujarat also if the talks with the government were fruitful. 

Berg was leading a delegation of Dutch firms in 'Agri Asia 2021,' an international exhibition and conference on agricultural innovations taking place between December 9 and 11 at Gandhinagar's helipad ground. 

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