Israel proposes date farming in state
Rachna Singh, TNN | Jul 19, 2012
JAIPUR: After experimenting with olives in Rajasthan with a private company, Israel government is in talks with the state government to grow dates in Jaisalmer.
Speaking to TOI, David Goldfarb, spokesman, Embassy of Israel, said, "In the working plan that the government of India is discussing with the government of Israel, in the coming two years 27 to 28 Centres of Excellence are planned across India. Among them three will be in Rajasthan."
The centres would be for citrus fruits in Kota, pomegranate in Bassi and dates in Jaisalmer. "Dates are mostly imported from Gulf to India and so far only Gujarat is growing dates with Israeli cooperation. But those are moist dates. What we plan in Jaisalmer would be dry dates."
According to Goldfarb, at the moment there are about 4-5 'Centres of Excellence' in India. The bilateral action plan for the period 2012- 2015 has been finalized for projects in Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Punjab. The thrust would be on transfer of applied research and technologies to the farmers in various states of India. The technologies to be transferred include irrigation, soil solarisation for disease control in plants, polyhouse farming, fertilisers, hybrid plants and seeds.
The projects considered for Rajasthan were in keeping with the similarities in climate and cultivation problems in the state and Israel. Though Indo-Israel joint ventures have given a new fillip to agriculture in the arid state there are major differences in soil and other factors that have to be addressed. The project comprises experts from both the countries. Israeli experts will assist their Indian counterparts in training those who will disseminate the necessary knowledge to farmers and help form a cadre of good, experienced trainers. "At the moment three people from Rajasthan are undergoing nursery training in Israel," said Goldfarb.
Given the fact that Israel has been able to improve its agricultural productivity by employing scientific methods and technology, these centres would assist the Israeli experts in passing on their knowledge to the Indian counterparts.