Skilling, use of technology can double income of farmers, says Loek Hermans

Loek Hermans, Chairman of Topsector Horticulture & Starting Materials, the Netherlands, was all praise for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to double farmers’ income, saying that the success of such initiatives would depend on the intensification of the government’s policy.

“To my view, India is on the right way and Prime Minister Modi is very proactive in this endeavour,” he told BusinessLine and suggested some ways to reach the goal.

The most important, according to him, is to improve farmers’ skills and bringing in new technologies. For this, it is necessary for India to open more centres of excellence for technology and knowledge transfer where farmers can be trained in latest technological advancements in farming practices which would help to increase production. But he went on to add that the ownership of such centres should be with the government itself to benefit farmers.
Citing the opening of such centres in Baramati for vegetable and in Talegaon for floriculture, he said more such centres would enable to spread new skills among farmers across the country.

Hermans, who was in Kochi as part of a trade delegation accompanying the visiting Dutch Royal family, also suggested developing a robust logistics network for the movement of agri products directly from farmers to the consumer.

The Netherlands is one of the leaders in horticulture and exports of agri products such as vegetables, fruits worth €45 billion . “However, we are now focussing on technology transfer which will help countries to create more opportunities in the agri sector to achieve self sufficiency in food production”, he said.

India has all the possibilities to emerge as a leading agri products exporter especially in tropical products such as banana, pineapple which are in great demand in the US and Europe.

Pesticides

To a question on pesticides, he said “we are tying to bring its usage to zero per cent by 2030. Today 50 per cent are chemical fertilisers, which is causing harm to environment and soil. We are shifting to natural fertiliser by using Bumbles Bees, a kind of an aggressive biological way of protecting crops especially in protected cultivation such as poly-houses, net-houses and glass houses.