Israel to work on agricultural projects in eight states

Women labourers collect wheat at a Punjab State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited Warehouse in Amritsar. REUTERS

ith the inauguration of a new Centre of Excellence for Vegetables and Fruits in Haryana, Israel is planning to collaborate with India on various agriculture projects in Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, UP and West Bengal.

In accordance with the Agriculture Cooperation Agreement signed between the two countries in 2008, and with the three-year work plan finalised between the Ministries of Agriculture of India and Israel in 2011, Indo-Israel agriculture cooperation projects are in various stages of implementation in eight states across India.

Recently the Chief Minister of Haryana Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Israeli Ambassador Alon Ushpiz inaugurated a Centre of Excellence for Fruits in Mangiana, Sirsa. Ambassador Daniel Carmon, Deputy Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Head of MASHAV, Israel’s agency for International Cooperation and Development, were also present on this occasion.

This is the second Indo-Israel Centre of Excellence to be established in the Haryana at Sirsa, following the Centre for Vegetables in Karnal. It will showcase some of the most advanced Israeli nursery and fruit cultivating technologies, adapted for Indian conditions by local experts.

At this Centre, Israel will run two training courses every year for progressive farmers from Haryana. In these courses, the farmers will learn modern techniques for increasing their income from farming. Set up on 78 acres of land at a cost of Rs 9.7 crore, the Centre of Excellence for Fruits will endeavour to develop sub-tropical fruit cultivation and industry in Haryana.

The major interventions of the Centres of Excellence for Fruits will be the introduction of improved cultivars and new crops for citrus, olives, dates, pomegranates and guava.

« The Indo-Israel cooperation in agriculture is a significant part of India becoming a world leader in food production and supply. The repeated exchanges between Israeli and Indian experts and the mutually agreed recommendations will guarantee rapid growth in the yield and quality of produce and will surely benefit the Indian farmers and consumers, » said Uri Rubinstien, counsellor MASHAV (science & agriculture). « In the present times, when land holdings are becoming smaller and water is becoming scarce, adoption of the latest technology is the only way to survive for our farmers, » said Bhupinder Singh Hooda at the inauguration. Hooda also mentioned how during his visit to Israel he saw how farmers in that country were making money from small landholdings by taking to newer techniques in horticulture. It was due to these modern technologies that the Israeli farmers were able to import fruits to the whole of Europe.

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