As key food-growing states of Punjab and Haryana face the onslaught of climate change, erratic rainfall, dwindling water availability, excessive use of chemicals and lack of crop diversification, they can learn from the tiny European nation, the Netherlands, that has successfully reclaimed land from sea, nourished its soil and tackled the flood threat to become the second biggest producer of food in the world. About 55% of the country’s land is below sea level, which poses a grave threat of flooding besides making the soil alkaline.
The Netherlands’ special envoy at ministry of agriculture, nature and food quality Frederik Vossenaar, while sharing a presentation on the growth of agriculture, especially horticulture, with the Indian journalists’ delegation at the World Horti Centre in Naaldwijk in March 29, said, “With state-of-the-art greenhouses, we have taken our production to the next level. Collaboration between the government, private sector, research institutions, on national, regional and local level and public private partnerships are the pillars of success for agriculture in the Netherlands.”
Vossenaar said their success originates from traditional cooperation in education, research and education, but now also creates frameworks for innovation. He said the Netherlands government and companies are keen to share their knowledge and expertise with the rest of the world, especially India. “It is not our ambition to export tomatoes to the whole world. International cooperation is crucial for the sustained success,” he said.
Desh Ramnath, director (business development), Dutch Greenhouse Delta (DGD) said greenhouse cultivation enables farmers to get much higher yields from significantly less land, much less water and little usage of chemicals. “There is nearly 80-150 times higher yield of crops from greenhouses, 80-150 times less land is needed to feed the population or transport food for business and 96% less water is used,” he said.
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