Agri Business

Indian potato processing sector is top of menu for Dutch processing machinery suppliers

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on January 29, 2020 Published on January 29, 2020

File photo   -  Business Line

Government's push for value-addition aimed at doubling of farm income attracts more foreign players

Looking at the pace at which Indian farmers are moving towards growing potato varieties that suit the processing sector, Dutch potato processing machinery suppliers are increasingly queuing up to tap the promising processing market in India.

Additionally, what has fuelled excitement among foreign processing machinery suppliers is the push from the government, which has relaxed the foreign direct investment (FDI) limit in the food processing sector to 100 per cent, with the aim of doubling farmer incomes by promoting processing industries.

At the ongoing 3rd Global Potato Conclave at Gandhinagar, global leaders in engineering process lines for potato processors Kiremko BV, has shown its intent to build a facility in India to make processing equipment.

Speaking to BusinessLine, Kiremko’s director, Paul Oosterlaken said the facility may be located somewhere in North India, where potato cultivation is mostly concentrated.

“We plan to set up the facility in about one-and-a-half years. We plan to be closer to where the production is. This facility will make processing equipment required for all kinds of potato processing including flakes, fries, chips, etc.”

Kiremko hasn't decided on the size of investment for the facility, but the official hinted that it will not be lower than €5-6 million.

While the global major builds processing units with capacity ranging from 2.5 tonnes per hour to 35 tonnes per hour, Indian market conditions are believed to be suitable for processing capacity of about six to seven tonnes per hour.

“We are building capacities for many international players who have already committed their investments in India for processing facilities,” he added.

On the other hand, players such as data technology service provider Solentum BV, are bringing tools to collect and analyse data related to growing, processing and storage conditions of potato.

“We believe that new technology needs to be accessible by everyone in the potato value-chain. We have introduced a device that tracks data of cold storages through wireless data-gathering technology and analyses crucial parameters such as CO2, humidity and temperature inside the warehouses. The analysis can be used to bring in better storage practices and lower wastage," said Egbert Bakker, Managing Director of Solentum.

The Netherlands Business Support Office (NBSO) in Ahmedabad is engaging with local processors and growers for adoption of latest technologies available with the Dutch companies, a delegation of which is being led to the global meet by Agricultural Counsellor of the Embassy of the Netherlands in India, Siebe Schuur.

“Through our association as a Partner in this event, I hope that we will be able to showcase the best and the most recent developments in the potato value-chain and contribute to further develop the sector in India,” said Amlan Bora, Trade & Investment Commissioner of NBSO, Ahmedabad.

India produces about 52.5 million tonnes of potato per annum. Of this, only about 6-7 per cent are taken up for processing. The Netherlands leads the world potato processing industry with a ratio at around 70 per cent. The Netherlands produces 7.39 million tonnes of potato from 0.16 million hectaresof land with average productivity of around 46 tonnes per hectare.

Published on January 29, 2020
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