To strengthen the relations in agriculture, horticulture and climate, the delegation of over 37 business delegates under the leadership of minister of Agriculture are engaging with local authorities in Karnataka and business leaders.
“India has the ambition to become the food factory of the world, to double farmers income and to increase the export of agriculture & food products by 2022. The Netherlands is the ideal partner to realize these goals, and simultaneously work together to realize the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) by 2030,” says Sonnema.
The Netherlands is the second largest exporter of agricultural products in the world (2018: US$ 100 billion) and has vast experience in managing supply chains for fresh vegetables, food and flowers to market destinations all over the world.
“We are the second largest exporter of agricultural products, but it is certainly not our ambition to feed the population in India. Our strength is that we have the ambition to help Indian farmers to produce food in a more sustainable and efficient way. In fact, Indian agriculture exports to the Netherlands are about six times higher than the other way around,” says Sonnema.
The minister says that many Dutch companies have already strong ties with their partners in the Bangalore region. “We are particularly happy that so many training institutes and knowledge centers are attracted to this mission. Together we can overcome some of the pressing problems facing the sustainability of food production, introducing best practices,” she says.
Another important theme during the trade mission will be making agriculture more resilient in the light of climate change. After two consecutive hot and dry summers in Europe, Dutch farmers are looking differently to the effects of climate change. “By adapting different farming practices and by using better seeds, we can overcome some of the challenges that climate poses, like water scarcity. We also know that India is particularly vulnerable when it comes to water,” says the minister.
The latest drive of the competitive Dutch agricultural sector is circularity. “If we make agriculture circular with less inputs, we can reduce waste, and make food production climate resilient,” the Vice Minister mentions.
The minister is part of the delegation of Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, who are on a state visit to India.