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India to welcome the biggest ever business mission with Dutch Pm's visit

The visit of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte this month with four cabinet ministers, 15 CEOs and about 220 participants in the business delegation, is the biggest Dutch trade mission to India ever and will further strengthen the relations in agriculture, smart cities, water management, health and R&D. 

The Netherlands and India have historical relations going back to the early 17th century and Netherlands is the fourth largest investor of FDI in India. 

India and Netherlands have been sources of agro exports/imports for each other. India exports seven times more agro produce than Netherlands exports to India. The Netherlands exports mostly inputs for agriculture, like agro-tech, agro-knowledge, high yield seeds, seed potatos, semen to India. Together India and the Netherlands are a natural fit in Agro. 

If India wants to double its food production or double its farmers income, then the Netherlands has the technologies to make it happen. An example are apple trees. India puts a lot of effort and budget on the renewal of apple orchards. The Dutch apple trees have a yield per hectare of 5 times the yield of the traditional apple trees variety in India. And the Dutch trees have their first apple harvest after 11 months. 

The requirement of imported apple plants in Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh is in excess of 5 mln plants per year, of critical importance to farmers. However, the imported plants are required to be kept in Post Entry Quarantine (PEQ) to be created by the importer, for prescribed periods ranging from 9 months to 2 years. 

It is extremely difficult - if not impossible - to keep the plants in PEQ facilities in good condition for such a long time; why, even creating the PEQ facilities is impossible. We feel that through registration and certification in the Netherlands and close cooperation with the Indian Plant Protection authorities we can avoid a PEQ. Indian apple farmers stand to gain: the productivity of the new trees will be five times that of the old ones. 

The focus is to further strengthen the relationship with India, we strive to contribute to the development of Indian agriculture. Indian government’s scheme ‘Make in India’ aims to boost foreign investment. The Netherlands wants to ‘Make in India’ and by doing so transfer knowledge and technology, also in agriculture: 

For example the company “AllRound” – it produces vegetable-, fruit- and potato- processing machines. They first had a plant in the Netherlands and exported to India from there. Now they also have a plant in Ambala (Haryana) and export to the whole world from India and the Netherlands Or the Dutch state of the art seed-potato company HZPC, that joined with the Agri-Division of Mahindra to breed (in Mohali, Punjab) seed potatoes with a double yield per hectare comparted to the traditional Indian seed potato.

Besides the seed developing and R& D company Rijkszwaan, who are now breeding high yield vegetable seeds in Bangalore. 

Sometimes it is a question of transfer of technology to Indian agro-enterpreneurs, like the INDUCE project with Tasty Dairy (Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh) where Dutch dairy experts are training the farmers in all details of the milk production. 

Haryana has asked the Dutch government and Dutch companies to guide the way to a shift in the state’s agriculture from water intensive crops (rice and grain) to water managed crops (horticulture). A by effect will be that farmers’ income will rise and that stubble burning could vanish. The Dutch are there to assist India’s farmers adapting to climate change. 

The upcoming PM visit will focus on the many aspects/facets of Indo-Dutch partnerships in agro sector. The spotlight will be on – Dairy; Financing in Agro; Horticulture and Seed Technology; Food safety; Green house solutions for diversification of crops to horticulture crops in Haryana. 

Jammu and Kashmir State being endowed with natural advantages of topography and climate with enormous diversity of agro-climatic conditions has immense scope for horticultural development. 

Horticultural industry in the state made rapid strides during the last few decades. Apple is the most important fruit crop of the state, about 48 per cent area is covered by apple as per the horticulture census 2016-17. It is also important in terms of production (17.26 lakh MT). Though it appears to be highest among the apple producing states in the country, the productivity is only 10 MT/ha which is far below the level achieved by advanced countries where productivity is of 50-60 MT/ha. 

Among the various factors responsible for low productivity, availability of true to type well feathered planting material coupled with proper trellis system and drip irrigation are of paramount importance. The state government realized the importance of these components and in the year 2016 a project was laid in collaboration of PIB Holland and SKUAST-K (State Agri. University). 

The trial had two year 5 feathered planting material of various Dutch varieties of Apple coupled with Dutch trellis system and drip irrigation. The trial attracted lot of fanfare and the trees started bearing in the first year of planting in comparison with traditional trees where it usually takes 10 years to start the bearing. Based on the success of the trial, few more trials with other crops like Pear, Cherry etc. were laid in the valley and all of them are transforming the landscape of the valley. This intervention would help transform the lives of 7 lakh families which are directly or in-directly dependent on horticulture by increasing the productivity from 10 MT/Ha to global standards of 50-60 MT/ha which would not only lead to a 5 fold increase in the farmer’s income but would also uplift the horticulture economy of the state from current 6000 crores to 30,000 crores. 

Similarly, in post-harvest, Dutch technologies whether in terms of machinery or smart solutions are helping reduce post-harvest produce wastage and long preservation of the fruits with better quality characteristics, hedging the farmer from risk of distress sale in season helping the farmer realize stable prices for his produce over a longer period of time increasing his returns from sale of produce. 

The collaboration of local companies with Dutch companies is helping in bringing the most advanced innovations to the Apple farmers at affordable prices by adopting the concept of Technology Transfer and in future it will lead to “Make in India” combined with Technological/extension support by Dutch Experts. 

The Indo-Dutch center of excellence on temperate fruits are also in the process. The center of excellence will not just help the state in improving its infrastructure for the storage and cold chain but also impart education and training to the local farmers to further build their future. Another initiative is of Wageningen University in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This project is going to focus on smart agro logistics, creating the supply chain, agronomic practices and nursery development. Thus helping the state with improving the living standards of small and medium farmers resulting through increased return of investment of high density apple cultivation. Employment generation, positive environment impact as a result of increased resource use efficiency of high density plantations and efficiencies of supply chain. The project also aims to reduce post-harvest losses and wastage. Will help the state in overall economic development and bring in the political stability in the longer run.

Mahindra HZPC is also transferring Dutch agriculture knowledge and expertise to Indian farmers through regular visits and on field trainings and creating new avenues for better income with its new varieties. 

The Netherlands is responsible for 5% of the world dairy trade. INDUCED i.e. “Indo Dutch Centre of Excellence on Dairying” was formed on 13 Nov 2017 through an MOU between Tasty Dairy specialties Limited, a dairy company situated in the Kanpur region of Uttar Pradesh along with PUM ( Netherlands Senior Experts on agriculture ) on a PPP model. This Centre with the active assistance of PUM will work from scratch to help in revamping and dramatically transforming the dairy industry in India in one generation. 

With the help of Dutch technology which is responsible for Dutch excellence in Dairying as Netherlands produces 50% of UP's milk production with 79 times smaller land areas, INDUCED aims for doubling the farmer’s income which also is one of the priorities and goals of Indian Government. 

Source: The Economic Times



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