Thursday, February 9

Dutch interest in Bengal

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A Dutch business delegation, comprising more than 15 small and medium companies, are now in the city to explore business opportunities in areas such as infrastructure, agriculture, food processing and sustainable development in Bengal.

The team, led by Merten van den Berg, the ambassador of the Netherlands in Bengal, met finance and industries minister Amit Mitra on Thursday and held talks for nearly two hours on areas of mutual interests.

Later in the afternoon, a business-tobusiness meet was organised by Ficci where Indian entrepreneurs got a chance to meet their Dutch counterparts.

As part of the two-day trip, the delegation will interact with the members of Bengal Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the officials of the Inland Waterways Authority of India on Friday.

Picture by Sanat Kumar Sinha The ambassador later spoke to The Telegraph on the areas where he expects Dutch companies to play an important role in Bengal. “Looking at the opportunities and economic structure of Bengal, I find lot of similarities with the Netherlands. Large ports, hinterland connections, agriculture, infrastructure development, river and flood management — these are the areas where we have expertise and many Dutch companies operating in these sectors are already in India. They are now looking at Bengal,” van den Berg said.

Bengal’s transport secretary N. S. Nigam, present at the Ficci interaction, reminded that Dutch traders settled in Bengal 400 years ago at Chinsura, Hooghly. In his first visit as the ambassador, van der Berg pointed out that Bengal was a big producer of farm commodities but not a large exporter. “To be competitive in the international market, the farmer not only has to produce at a competitive price but also deliver to the market fresh via an efficient logistic cold chain,” he said.

Minister Mitra told the team about the opportunities in building a port and creating hinterland connectivity. He told the delegation to explore dredging and pollution control.


Source: The Telegraph

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