Vishwa Mohan, TNN | Oct 8, 2013
NEW DELHI: Israel will have its footprints in 10 Indian states through setting up various centre of excellence for floriculture, fruits and vegetables by 2015.
Emboldened by the success of two such existing centres - one for vegetables in Karnal and other for fruit orchards in Sirsa - in Haryana, both the countries have decided to have 26 more similar set-ups in different states under Indo-Israel agriculture cooperation agreement of 2008.
Objective of such centres is to live demonstrate Israeli agriculture technologies and know-how to local farmers on use of protected cultivation which allows growing of crops beyond seasonal barrier through efficient use of water and controlling of temperature using poly-houses\canopies.
Calling it the best example of cooperation between the two countries, Israeli minister of economy Naftali Bennett - who visited the Centre of Excellence for Vegetables in Karnal, Haryana to see its functioning on Tuesday - told the TOI that the idea of this step was to increase productivity through efficient use of water and other resources and made the entire agricultural activity less expensive for the farmers not only in Haryana but also in other parts of India.
The concept of cooperation behind these centres is to create a platform for joint Indian and Israeli agriculture research and development (R&D) on the ground which will benefit both the countries in the long run. Each centre will be focussed on specific fruit and vegetable crops.
Israel - world leader in agriculture technology - will provide seeds and technologies to help grow new variety of vegetables\fruits like cucumber, capsicum, mango, dates and herbs.
Maharashtra will have the maximum number (four out of 28) of such centres which are to be set up in Nagpur, Rahuri (Ahmednagar district), Dapoli (Ratnagiri) and Roha (Raigad). While the centre at Nagpur will be exclusively for citrus fruits, Rahuri will be for pomegranate and Dapoli will be for mango. A post harvest college is being established at Roha.
Other states which will have such centres include Tamil Nadu (Hosur and Krishnagiri), Rajasthan (Bassi near Jaipur), Punjab, Gujarat, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar.
Hosur in TN will see intensive vegetable production whereas Krishnagiri will have a canopy management training centre of traditional old mango plantations. Three centres will come up in Rajasthan which will be meant for floriculture, vegetables, fruits and dates.
Israeli ambassador to India Alon Ushpiz, who accompanied Bennett to Karnal, said his country was in the process of setting up such centres in different states in India. Six to eight centres, which are at various stages of development in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab and Karnataka, would be inaugurated by the end of this year, he added.
The cooperation between the two countries also includes structured interactions between governments, experts and farmers.
"This comprises of bilateral sharing of knowledge and technologies, establishment of centres of excellence in various agriculture sectors across India, exchange visits of experts and farmers and post-doctoral scholarships for Indian agriculture researchers in Israel", said the background note of the Israeli Embassy on Israel-India cooperation in agriculture.