The government of the Netherlands and Dutch businesses have inked an agreement to undertake a “potato impact cluster” project in Bangladesh.
The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and a consortium of Dutch businesses joined hands to share their experience and best practices with potato farmers in Bangladesh to improve supply chain in potato sector of Bangladesh.
An amount of Euro 900,000 has been allocated for this three-year project, said the Bangladesh Embassy in The Hague.
The project was discussed in detail in a seminar organized by the Embassy of Bangladesh in The Hague titled “Agriculture Sector in Bangladesh: Lessons from the Netherlands” on Wednesday.
Errol van Groenewoud, Director, Omnivent Storage Solutions; Alex Verbruggen, Founder of Verbruggen Group; Hans Griffioen, President of Eurojute; and Maarten Verbruggen, Managing Director of Deltadesh and Export Manager of Verbruggen Group joined the seminar to impart their insights on how Bangladesh could learn from the lessons of successes as well as failures in the Netherlands.
Karst Weening, Policy Specialist of Dutch Potato Association, who moderated the event, captured the theme in one word: knowledge and innovations, as he shared insights on how Wageningen University in the Netherlands brought about a “knowledge revolution” in the Netherlands in agriculture sector.
As a result, farmers in the Netherlands are the world’s one of the knowledgeable ones compared to their peers in many other countries.
Errol of Omnivent highlighted the enormous entrepreneurial potential in Bangladesh.
Drawing from his decade old business engagements in countries like Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, Errol stated that agriculture in Bangladesh will improve much faster than other countries in the region because of entrepreneurial spirit of Bangladeshi people.
Errol van Groenewoud, Director, Omnivent Storage Solutions: “What Bangladesh needs the most is to adopt new technologies and practices faster than others.”
Bangladesh Ambassador to the Netherlands Sheikh Mohammed Belal, Embassy officials, representatives from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), Dutch Development Bank (FMO), top executives from Dutch agribusiness sector and members of Bangladesh community living in the Netherlands also attended the seminar.
Ambassador Belal hoped that the Dutch agricultural entrepreneurs, associations and relevant Ministries and Agencies would continue to collaborate with their Bangladesh counterparts to facilitate technology-based farming and farm-produce processing for food and nutrition security and poverty reduction in Bangladesh.
He drew their attention about the host of positive externalities because of multiplier effects that agricultural productivity will bring including achieving SDGs in general and SDG1 and SDG2 in particular.
The participants shared their stories of witnessing generational change in the Dutch agriculture sector, especially in the areas of technology-based farming technique and farm produce processing, and suggested that Bangladesh can follow Dutch model with necessary adaptations as both the countries are deltaic in nature and dependent on agriculture.
They also highlighted the importance of appropriate storage facilities for agricultural produce, post-harvest losses especially in grain and vegetables production and innovation in the supply chain of jute cultivation, processing and diversified jute-based products development, etc.
The Netherlands is the world’s second largest exporter of agricultural products after USA.