To impart Dutch expertise in agriculture, the government of Netherlands is planning to set up a centre of excellence in Kolkata in collaboration with the state government.
A delegation led by the Dutch ambassador to India, Alphonsus Stoelinga, met senior state government officials and reached a consensus on establishing the centre here.
Greater cooperation in future
"This will be a platform for both the governments in creating business opportunities in agriculture and work on joint projects. We will work on how Dutch knowledge can be brought in the field of agriculture in West Bengal," Anand Krishnan, Deputy Counsellor for Agriculture at the Netherlands embassy said.
During an interactive session with members of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, he said the centre would work in the fields of agriculture, horticulture, meat processing, food processing and floriculture.
The Ducth ambassador pointed out that a cold storage unit for packaged food items with Dutch technological support has been set up this month in West Bengal.
The Dutch government is also working to establish similar centres in Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, UP, Bihar and Assam.
Boost for industry
Ambassador Stoelinga said his country could play a role in the Indian agricultural market because 35 per cent of the produce gets lost in the food supply chain connecting the farmer to the consumer.
"Horticulture and agro-food sector are important for both the countries. India is a huge producer as well as a market in agriculture but the problem is in the supply chain," he said, adding that they have multiple solutions in the field.
"In Netherlands, you can eat mango every morning in the (sic) breakfast. Indians also want to have it every day and they are ready to pay for it. The supply line should be made for it," the Ambassador said.
Ambassador Alphonsus Stoelinga
He said they have recently come up with an incubator centre for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Delhi.
"SMEs from the two countries can collaborate together to explore business opportunities in this centre," he said, adding that SMEs will play a major role in bilateral trade in the years to come.
The Netherlands is the fifth largest investor in India and the two-way trade has grown significantly to 6.38 billion euros currently. About 100 Dutch firms including Akzo Nobel and Phillips have invested in India, while 174 Indian companies including Tata Steel and Apollo Tyres have invested in the Netherlands.
In the EU, contribution of agriculture to the economy is among the highest in the Netherlands