Trade mission India 2018

25 januari 2019

On the 25th of November, a delegation representing the province of North Holland travelled to India for a trade mission in the areas of agriculture and food. India is one of the fastest growing countries in the world, with a population of 1,3 billion. The middle class in particular is growing exponentially, leading to changing patterns of consumption of food and flowers & plants. Distribution channels are transforming accordingly, to keep up with high levels of demand

Preliminary exploration

A preliminary research trip for agriculture and food took place in 2016, led by Jaap Bond, Member of the Executive Council of the Province of North Holland. Contact with the consulate was established during this trip.

In 2017, a delegation from North Holland took part in the World Food India trade mission to Delhi. The delegation observed specific challenges faced by India in the fields of food processing, food safety, cold chain logistics, and water and waste management. As a direct result of this mission, GreenPort NHN and Amsterdam Trade were inspired to organise a trade mission to India together.

Report trade mission to India 2018

The 2018 trade mission to India took place between the 25th of November and the 1st of December and was led by Rian van Dam of Greenport NHN. The delegation started their journey in Bangalore and travelled on to Mumbai via Pune.

Rian van Dam and Martine Sourbag (Amsterdam Trade) reflected on an inspiring journey: “We chose an individual approach to entrepreneurs as focus point for the mission. The programme was designed to allow room for B2B matchmaking on the basis of demand. The participants were subject to a thorough intake procedure by NXT and the programme was made in collaboration with the consulates in Mumbai and Bangalore and Siebe Schuur, representative of the Dutch agri-sector in Delhi (“Landbouwraad”). The entrepreneurs appreciated the specific and individual approach to matchmaking.

The B2B meetings were possible thanks to the networks of and matchmaking by the economic departments of the consulates in Bangalore and Mumbai, the agricultural representative (“Landbouwraad”) and NXT. The meetings organised in collaboration with the consulates and “Landbouwraad” were also constructive and inspiring. We have especially good memories of the unforgettable Holland Meets Mumbai Trade Dinner.

The participating entrepreneurs appreciated the opportunity to meet face to face with Marten van den Berg (Dutch Ambassador to India), Guido Tielman (Consul General of Mumbai), Gert Heijkoop (Consul General of Bangalore) and Siebe Schuur (Landbouwraad).

The meet & greet with students and alumni of Hall Van Larenstein/College of Agribusiness Baramati was also considered successful. Several organisations have expressed their interest in giving assignments to a student or alumnus.

We have learned that close collaboration with all parties and the tailor-made programme helped us to efficiently explore the market and expand our network. Entrepreneurs meanwhile were pleased with the flexibility offered by the programme. There were many opportunities for feedback during the trip and the programme was adjusted accordingly to best serve the needs of entrepreneurs.”

Follow up

A large portion of participants has already made plans to return to India in the first quarter of 2019 for follow-up to this mission. A number of events on India took place in the Netherlands between 10-12 December.

On the 10th of December, a round table agriculture & food took place in the Hague. The event was organised by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, the Dutch representative of agriculture in India and the Indian embassy in the Netherlands. In Rotterdam and Zwolle, interested parties could attend the India Business Days. A number of members of the delegation was present at these events.

Greenport NHN is organising a masterclass “international entrepreneurship” in collaboration with Amsterdam Trade. The class is open to entrepreneurs in North Holland. Experiences and lessons from the trade mission will be shared during the class.

Beyond our expectations

A selection of comments from participating entrepreneurs

  • “This has been a wonderful adventure, beyond our expectations”
  • “Excellent B2B meetings, I am confident I will find good business partners”
  • “The market has turned out to be larger and more developed than expected”
  • “Having spoken to interesting parties, I see greater potential for our product than expected”
  • “This trip has actually created new business opportunities. NXT and the consulates have responded well to our wishes.” 

Reactions from the diplomatic network

“We look back on a successful visit to Bangalore from the province North Holland, Greenport NHN and Amsterdam Trade. The south of India is well-known for IT but also has much to offer in the field of agriculture, and of course the Netherlands is highly regarded for its agricultural expertise. India is not the easiest market to break into, but as a country with 13,1 billion citizens – all of whom need to eat - and an economic growth rate of 8% per year it also offers huge opportunities. We hope to welcome the mission and its individual members to South India again in the future. The consulate is happy to offer our assistance in such exchanges.” – Gert Heijkoop, Consul General in Bangalore

“Small, focused trade missions operating from a regional perspective and without “pomp and circumstance”, but with plenty of opportunities to meet potential business partners on the ground certainly offer added value, alongside larger trade missions on the national scale. If full attention is given to contact with the client and the demand – in this case – on the Indian side, instead of to the Dutch supply-side, then missions like the one organised by Greenport NHN and Amsterdam Trade can help companies in the agro-food sector to quickly learn about the opportunities and challenges that finding a local partner present and gain insight into the relevant rules and regulations.” – Siebe Schuur, agricultural representative for the Dutch agricultural and food sector in India.

“We are very pleased with the long-term commitment shown by the province of North Holland, Amsterdam Trade and Greenport NHN to the introduction of Dutch (specifically from North Holland) companies on the Indian market. This has been the second delegation since the visit from Jaap Bond in 2016. For smaller trade delegations, focus and scale are crucial to making business connections and this often turns out to be more effective than large delegations representing multiple sectors. As far as we are concerned, the partnership between GreenPort NHN and Amsterdam Trade with a commercial party like NXT is a fruitful approach. These parties are able to offer just a tad more assistance and tailor-made in-depth knowledge than a diplomatic network. On the other hand, we are able to offer our contacts with government agencies and our network. We use our Dutch softpower and culture to promote our trade interests.” – Guido Tielman, Consul General in Mumbai

This trade mission was organised by GreenPort NHM in collaboration with Amsterdam Trade. They are available for assistance concerning follow-up, as are NXT-trade and the embassy and diplomatic networks.

For more information, please contact GreenPort NHN via or by telephone: +31 88 123 7777