Israel will have its footprints in 10 Indian states by 2015 as it plans to set up various centres of excellence for floriculture, fruits and vegetables. Emboldened by the success of two such centres — one for vegetables in Karnal and another for fruit orchards in Sirsa - in Haryana, both the countries have decided to have 26 similar set-ups in different states under Indo-Israel agriculture cooperation agreement of 2008.
Objective of such centres is to 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 economyNaftali Bennett, who visited the Centre of Excellence for Vegetables in Karnal to see its functioning on Tuesday, told 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 that will benefit both the countries in the long run. Each centre will be focused 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 that are to be set up in Nagpur, Rahuri (Ahmednagar district), Dapoli (Ratnagiri) and Roha (Raigad). The centre at Nagpur will be exclusively for citrus fruits, while Rahuri and Dapoli for pomegranate and mango, respectively. A post-graduate harvest college is being established at Roha.
Hosur in Tamil Nadu 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 that 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.