The Telegraph
Thursday , February 13 , 2014
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Dutch help for Bengal farms

Alphonsus Stoelinga in Calcutta on Wednesday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta, Feb. 12: The Netherlands is willing to create a “centre of excellence” to tap opportunities in the agriculture and horticulture sectors in Bengal.

“We want to disseminate Dutch expertise and technology through this centre and bring into its ambit sectors such as horticulture, meat processing, food processing and floriculture. A feasibility study would be first conducted to identify verticals,” Alphonsus Stoelinga, ambassador of the Netherlands to India, said.

The ambassador, on his maiden trip to Calcutta after taking over more than a year ago, met Bengal industry secretary C.M. Bachhawat and agriculture secretary Subrata Biswas in the morning.

“The Centre will be a platform for creating business in the respective fields in agriculture. We are talking to different states to get the concept established with support from both the governments of Netherlands and India. We had a good discussion with the officials of Bengal today,” said Anand Krishnan, deputy counsellor for agriculture, nature and food quality (India & Sri Lanka), Embassy of Netherlands.

He was present at an interactive session with Stoelinga organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Several states such as Punjab, Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra have also shown interest in collaborating with the Netherlands. Two Indian states are said to be in advanced stages of formulating a detailed project report.

Reviving heritage

Namit Shah, honourary consul of the Netherlands in Calcutta, said two Dutch experts would visit the city shortly to explore the possibility of reviving the colonial heritage of the European nation in Bengal.

The Netherlands had many establishments in Chinsurah, Hooghly, where the district magistrate bungalow and the court belong to the Dutch era.

“We shall see if some of the structures can be converted into attractive tourism destinations,” Shah said in the presence of Stoelinga.