Dutch govt to establish Dairy Trading Center of Excellence (DTCE) in India
In order to share its expertise in the dairy sector with India, the Dutch government plans to establish a Dairy Trading Center of Excellence (DTCE) in southern Uttar Pradesh, according to Michiel van Erkel, Agriculture Counsellor for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The DTCE will be located in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Holland is open to the idea of establishing more than one DTCE in India, as well as Centers of Excellence (CoE) in the fields of horticulture, floriculture, and food manufacturing.
As for floriculture, the Dutch agriculture adviser stated that it would assist Indian floriculturists in packing and shipping their products to various parts of the country as well as to other countries abroad.
In discussions with the Centre
Currently, we are in discussions with the Indian government. According to van Erkel, who was in Chennai with the Netherlands Ambassador to India Marten van den Berg for discussions with the Tamil Nadu government, the government has indicated that it would prefer to establish DTCE in southern Uttar Pradesh because the region already has a genetic center.
The DTCE will assist dairy farmers in adopting Dutch technology in order to improve the quality and quantity of milk produced in their operations. In addition to receiving training, farmers will gain knowledge about running dairy farms, including marketing strategies. They will receive instruction in dairy farming. They will also be able to obtain information on the genetic materials, he added.
The DTCE will also have a small-scale cheese plant, similar to the ones that Dutch dairy farms have set up next to their farmgates in Holland, and will sell the products produced by this facility.
The amount of milk produced by each animal
Ambassador van den Berg of the Netherlands had discussed the possibility of establishing a similar center of excellence for dairy training in Chennai. In the words of van Erkel, ‘India has the potential to have more than one such center of excellence.’
According to the Agriculture Counsellor of the Netherlands, the milk yield per animal in the Netherlands is significantly higher than in India. Additionally, 2-3 people manage a farm with approximately 150 cows, whereas Indian dairy farmers only have 10-20 cows. ‘When compared to the cooperatives in Tamil Nadu, we have massive cooperatives in Holland,’ he explained.
According to statistics for 2019-20, the per animal milk yield in Holland is at least five times higher at 8,900 kg per year than the yield of Indian cattle, which is 1,777 kg per year.
Insufficiency of genetic material
‘One of the issues that Indian dairy farmers are dealing with is a lack of access to high-quality cattle. ‘We visited 3-5 states in India and discovered that the right genetic material is not available in India to put it on the global dairy map,’ van Erkel explained. ‘We are working to change that.’
The problem in India is that only a small number of people are dedicated dairy farmers, and they believe that the cost of importing genetic material is prohibitively expensive. The high costs of our firms are being discussed with some of the Dutch companies, but it is a fact that our firms are expensive. We are unable to compete against Israeli firms that are significantly less expensive. Nevertheless, a business relationship with a company in the Netherlands is for the long haul, according to him.
The Dutch government has offered to assist India in the fields of horticulture, floriculture, food processing, and potato production by establishing at least seven Centers of Excellence (CoE). In fact, only three are operational, including one in Baramati, Maharashtra for horticulture, one in Telangana for floriculture, and a third in Punjab for potato cultivation, according to him.
Van Erkel stated that the establishment of the CoE was being delayed due to bureaucratic clearances. It is expected that the DTCE will be operational within a year. ‘Under the Indian federal structure, states must seek permission from the Centre, which must also allocate funds,’ the agriculture commissioner explained.
In the last couple of years, the prime ministers of India and the Netherlands have met on two separate occasions. After their first meeting, both governments agreed that 25 CoEs would be established by 2025, with the first one taking place in 2015. However, after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed out that setting up 25 CoE by 2025 was an overly ambitious goal, they changed their statement to say that more CoE would be established following their second meeting.
Strawberries and blueberries are among the fruits available
The Netherlands will also assist in the establishment of a horticulture center of excellence in Tamil Nadu, with the goal of increasing the shelf life of food products and, in particular, reducing post-harvest losses. The establishment of a similar center for floriculture is also being considered, according to van Erkel, in order to improve packaging for exports as well as assist in bundling cut flowers and shipping them to various markets in India and abroad.
Furthermore, the Dutch government is interested in assisting in the production of imported products such as strawberries, blueberries, and avocados in India, including through the use of inter-cropping techniques.
The Netherlands agriculture counsellor mentioned a Dutch initiative in Sri Lanka to help revitalize tea plantations in order to increase the value and income of farmers. He added that his country could also assist in supporting cold storage and links, particularly with Indian firms interested in backward integration, by providing technical assistance.
In a statement, van Erkel expressed delight that two Indian agtech start-ups – CropIn and Innoterra – had entered the Netherlands, which he described as ‘the gateway to conquering Europe.’ He believes that Holland can learn a lot from Indian start-ups and that India can learn a lot from Holland when it comes to developing climate-smart seeds.
Dutch venture capital firms are making investments in agricultural technology and innovation start-ups in India. These companies have made investments in Ankur Capital, Omnivore, and other start-up investment funds, according to him.
According to a Dutch official, a Bengaluru biotech company was receiving assistance from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, which is the world’s leading university in plant and animal sciences, for the purpose of incubation.