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Trade mission explores Indian horticulture

Dutch Greenhouse Delta looks back on a successful HortiRoad2India trade mission to Hyderabad and Delhi, which took place from 23rd to 30th April. During this mission, the public-private partnership seized valuable opportunities to promote the Dutch horticulture sector and establish collaborations with Indian partners. The results of the trade mission have contributed to strengthening the bilateral trade relations between the Netherlands and India, showcasing how Dutch expertise in greenhouse construction and horticultural technology can contribute to the further development of the Indian horticulture sector.

"The trade mission to India was successful, with fruitful field visits, meetings, and matchmaking sessions, highlighting the potential of the Indian market and the importance of high-tech solutions", the organizers say. "The mission also served as an educational experience for the Dutch cluster, highlighting the need for integrated total solutions to contribute to the region's economic growth and stability. The high-tech side of Indian horticulture exceeded expectations, affirming the importance of engaging with the right partners."

The cluster has established many new partnerships with stakeholders in the industry and reconnected with existing relations. Concrete progress has already been made through agreements between cluster members and growers to upgrade existing acreage or develop new facilities. Additionally, the focus is shifting from network building to network utilization; developing business cases and exploring new business models and export opportunities in collaboration with the cluster.

India is evolving rapidly, particularly with a growing segment of the young middle class interested in healthy, fresh, and safe food. Dutch Greenhouse Delta’s ‘Fork2Farm’-strategy for fresh food production in India is aimed at serving this niche market. DGD's research has shown that this niche market has significant potential in India, where the size of this niche market is larger than the entire market of Dutch horticultural cultivation.

Trends in local food production
During the trade mission to India, it was observed that retailers, hotels, and modern growers recognize the growing demand for fresh and safe food in the Indian market. Furthermore, India's 24-hour economy is growing, and its potential is substantial. The rise of supermarkets in India has led to a clear differentiation of the supply chain based on niche markets, which are essential as trendsetters for the entire market. Metropolitan areas in India, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Lucknow, are key target markets due to the clustering of the target demographic in these cities, as well as an export market from India.

Opportunities for international food production
Apart from the large local market, there is an increasing collaboration between India, the UAE, Southeast Asia, and Africa. UAE aims for 30% domestic production and 70% production in India for their fresh food needs. The UAE-India collaboration presents significant opportunities for Dutch horticulture. India is an ideal contract farming partner for the UAE, which seeks high product standards.

The next steps involve an incoming mission to the Netherlands from June 12 - 16. "We are inviting Indian retailers, investors, AgTech firms, modern growers and the hospitality and food service sector to join us in the Netherlands to showcase how Dutch technology is profitably applicable to the Indian context. Experience how relevant parties work across the value to chain to achieve high quality, sustainable produce at low cost. Together with you, we want to build a profitable business case", the organizers share.

Additionally, plans are underway for a return visit to India later this year to continue building partnerships and explore the opportunities within India’s metropolitan areas and the collaboration between India and the UAE.

The trade mission was organized by Dutch Greenhouse Delta, InnovationQuarter, the Netherlands Embassy in India, and Rotterdam Partners.  

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