visiting Mehsana (Gujarat, 5 & 6 Oct) AND Phagwara (Punjab, 8 & 9 Oct)
“Growing Potatoes in Indian Soil with Dutch Technology” was the theme of the event Dutch Potato Week organized by NAFTC India with support of Food Tech Holland. The objective of the event was to bring all the entities across the potato value chain in India under one umbrella and showcase them the technological advancements from the Dutch potato industry.

The event was organized at two potato growing locations in India- Mehsana in Gujarat & Phagwara in Punjab. It was a one and a half day event at both the locations, 5th & 6th October 2015 in Gujarat and 8th & 9th October 2015 in Punjab.

Some 10 Dutch companies active in the potato value chain participate in the event. The premier Wageningen UR was also the part of the event as the Knowledge Centre. The Dutch companies who participated in the event were:

  • Bayer
  • HZPC
  • Omnivent
  • Kiremko
  • Tolsma
  • Mooij Agro
  • Verbruggen
  • Allround VP
  • Koppert
  • Broekema BV

The event was divided in to three sessions wherein two sessions were the workshop presentations by the member companies and third session was conference and panel discussion.

The member organizations gave detailed presentations of their products & services, Dutch technological advancements- its applicability is Indian context, challenges and future prospects. The workshop presentations were divided in 3 halls where participants joined as per their interest & needs.

The conference sessions were chaired by Dr. R.A. Sherasiya, Director Horticulture, Government of Gujarat at Mehesana location and by Mr. Suresh Kumar IAS, Additional Chief Secretary, Development, Government of Punjab at Phagwara location. This initiative taken by NAFTC India was very much appreciated by the chief guests and they mentioned the same in their speech.

Dr. R. A. Sherasiya focused on the need of adopting new technology in farming for better ROI & the way in which Government of Gujarat is helping the growers in adopting these technologies.

Mr. Suresh Kumar gave examples on how technology can help in making farming a more profitable business. He also focused in the areas in where State Agriculture University & the Government of Punjab are actively helping the farming community and gave a glimpse of future plans of the state Government.

There was an active participation from the industry side also wherein many companies/institutions across the potato value chain and knowledge chain participated. Some of the names are:

  • ITC Ltd, ABD
  • ITC Limited Food Division
  • TATA Consultancy Services
  • TATA Reviving Green Revolution (TATA Trust)
  • YES Bank Ltd
  • Simplot India Foods Pvt. Ltd.
  • National Skill Foundation
  • Punjab Agriculture University
  • Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University
  • McCain Foods India Ltd.
  • Krishi Vikas Kendra
  • Mahindra AgriBusiness
  • Gujarat Cold Storage Association
  • Siddhivinayak Agri Processing Pvt. Ltd.
  • Hyfun Foods

“Yield Gap Study & post-harvest losses. Mechanization & Financial options to overcome it”-The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. R. A. Sherasiya at Gugarat location & by Mr. Prekash Ramsingh at Punjab location. The discussion included:

  • Quality seeds
  • Crop protection
  • Disease resistance
  • Yield quality and its impact in processing
  • Storage & handling losses
  • Farm Mechanization- Pre & Post harvest
  • Finance options available for potato value chain
  • Role of contract farming

Also the challenges and opportunity in the Indian potato industry ware discussed.
The participants also had a chance to discuss with each other during the reception & market place visit time. There was a healthy discussion in both workshops and confrences.

Mr. Errol van Groenewoud, Chairman, NAFTC & Mr. Prekash Ramsingh, Director, NAFTC India also had a round of discussion with the participants for their comments and feedback.

In the closing remarks by Mr. Errol van Groenewoud, he gave complete glimpse of the week and also discussed on what changes would be adopted for the next event. After the success of DPW, NAFTC now are planning for a similar event for 2016 in multiple locations.