India is a country of 1.3 billion people, 600 million of whom work in agriculture. It’s population is set to grow to 1.6 billion in the next 10 to 15 years. Although, 600 million inhabitants are active in the agricultural sector, the sector’s share of the national GDP is small at 19%. Still India is the second largest food producer in the world after leader China. The production and consumption of fresh, healthy and affordable food combined with an accessible and healthy lifestyle is one of the most important pillars for India’s future. The growing food demand in India is reinforced by the requirements and wishes of India’s rapidly growing middle class.
The middle class in India not only demands a diversity of food, but also safe, fresh, and locally-grown fruit and vegetables, without the use of pesticides. With a young population of which more than half are under the age of 25 and 65% under the age of 35 years, India has a good foundation for economic growth, reform and innovation.
This all indicates the potential for innovation and reform in the Indian horticulture sector. Especially considering the fact that India is the world’s 5th largest economy and has the largest startup ecosystem in the world. It offers opportunities for collaboration between Dutch horticulture specialists and Indian IoT, ICT and digitization companies to jointly innovate the Indian horticulture sector. In addition, cooperation between the Netherlands and India can be stimulated by Exporting Dutch horticultural technology and knowledge to India.
PIB NLHortiRoad2India, which was signed at the Netherlands India Business Meet in Ahoy, Rotterdam on October 6, 2022, marks the kick-off of a multi-year public-private partnership. It aims to position the Dutch horticultural sector as a partner for India to meet India’s increasing demand for fresh, safe, and nutritious fruits and vegetables. The PIB NLHortiRoad2India is part of RVO’s Partners for International Business (PIB) program. Through collaboration and knowledge sharing, HortiRoad2India, led by Dutch Greenhouse Delta (DGD), InnovationQuarter, and Rotterdam Partners will contribute to solutions to food challenges in India with a series of activities and programs. This program will strengthen long-term partnerships between the two countries and promote awareness of Dutch technology and know-how.
This PIB follows two already successfully launched PIB partnerships; China and the Gulf region. By joining forces between companies, the Dutch government, and knowledge institutes, the sector can raise its profile more strongly than individual parties. Not only is the demand in India too complex and extensive for individual companies, but they often lack direct entry points to enter into discussions with foreign governments. Governments and investors also like to have a single point of contact, representing a group of organizations. Desh Ramnath, Business Developer, and Advisor India at DGD: “The Dutch cluster currently consists of eleven leading suppliers and specialized companies active in national and international (greenhouse) horticulture. With their variety of complementary products and services, together they offer a sustainable and integral solution. The cluster combines its global expertise with local experience to provide Indian consumers with healthy food while generating jobs and income for all involved. Dutch technology and knowledge can also contribute to improving the production process and extending the shelf life of food. HortiRoad2India wants to be a long-term partner for the Indian horticultural sector with a focus on knowledge transfer, quality, sustainability, and service.”
Dutch Greenhouse Delta, InnovationQuarter, and Rotterdam Partners are coordinating the PIB NLHortiRoad2India, in close cooperation with the Dutch government and embassy network. The following organizations are currently part of PIB India: Bayer de Ruiter, Hoogendoorn Growth Management, Horti XS, Ludvig Svensson, Lumiforte, Koppert, Meteor Systems, Priva, Ridder, Van der Hoeven, and Viscon Group.
Indian greenhouse horticulture is expanding at a rapid pace. And the ceiling has not yet been reached: the government wants to double farmers’ income by 2022 , which can be achieved by increasing productivity. According to Uday Bhat of Koppert India, a number of challenges still need to be overcome to achieve this, particularly in the areas of logistics and energy.
India has long been the promised land for food production, but there are still big steps to be taken in the field of food safety and food security. This is all happening far too slowly, according to Arjen Janmaat of Ridder.
Location: Hyderabad, Telangana
Crop: Lettuce and cabbage, radishes, carrots, and herbs
Type: Climate and Water solutions
Surface: 8 ha
Location: Bangalore, Karnataka Type: Water units & Climate Computers Purpose: Tackle water shortage in India
Location: Hyderabad, Telangana
Crop: Vines, Turmeric, Strawberry, and Blueberry Type: Gutter System Surface: 2.2 ha
Location: Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh Crop: Cucumber, Tomato, Strawberry, Capsicum
Type: Hydroponic glass greenhouse
Surface: 2 ha