opportunities in India

"Greenhouse construction in its infancy"

India is the second largest producer of vegetables in the world. The country has over 1.3 billion inhabitants who mainly eat following a vegetarian nutritional pattern. The production of vegetables is very important, thus making India a promising market for greenhouse suppliers. "Currently the technology is not up to date", says Wouter Verhey.

Greenhouse construction in its infancy
Wouter Verhey is stationed at the Dutch embassy in India as an agricultural adviser to facilitate for Dutch corporations. "My role is to support Dutch companies exporting their knowledge, technology and products to India." Horticulture is an important sector to Wouter and his team. "The are good at it, and our knowledge is tailored to the Indian needs."

"Right now you see a lot of small growers, but you see a slow switch to covered growth. All large (Dutch) seed companies can be found here, also with their own research, as well as a few greenhouse builders. Greenhouse construction is still in its infancy, but it's beginning to take off", Wouter Verhey explains.

Centers of excellence
"The Indian horticulture is a very important sector in which the Netherlands has a lot to contribute, and that is why we are setting up Centers of Excellence among other things. These training centers are directed at growing vegetables, fruit, and ornamental flowers, and at the growth of potatoes which is considered horticulture in India. The centers are financed by Indians and the Dutch supply knowledge and technology. "For the Dutch it is a platform to showcase their knowledge and technology. For the Indians it is a way to lift their growers to a higher level."

The Dutch are also facing challenges. "India is not an easy market. They are good negotiators, and our technology is still very unknown. We emphasize that Dutch technology might be expensive, but that the return on the investment is high. If you can prove that, the growers are willing to join."

The government sees the development of horticulture as very important and cooperates in this area with two countries: the Netherlands and Israel. Wouter: "It is rather special that such as small country as the Netherlands has a preferred status in such a large country as India."

In the coming summer the places will be traded. Wouter will become a agricultural adviser in Peking, the working location will be the People's Republic of China (inc. Hong Kong) and Mongolia. His place as agricultural adviser is being taken by drs. Siebe Schuur.

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