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Israel to open centres of excellence for farmers in India

Israel's Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir has announced that his country will open centres of excellence for farmers in India to encourage research in agriculture sector.

Gandhinagar: Israel's Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir has announced that his country will open centres of excellence for farmers in India to encourage research in agriculture sector.

Shamir told media here on the sidelines of the 7th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit-2015 that these centres will be opened in Haryana, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal.

Shamir said Israel has accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal for ushering a white revolution in India and added that Israel wants to help India combat hunger and provide ample food security.

According to a recent Embassy of Israel release, Israel is a world leader in advanced agriculture technologies.

Israel's success lies in the determination and ingenuity of farmers and scientists, and in the close cooperation between research and development and industry.

These characteristics have created a flourishing agriculture sector amidst a difficult environment with limited ground and water resources.

Amongst the many fields in which Israel and India collaborate, agriculture has always been front and centre.

This cooperation includes structured interactions between governments, experts and most important - 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.

This cooperation, based on proper adaptation, implementation and assimilation of Israeli agro-technologies and extension procedures, is taking a significant part in India's Second Green Revolution.

All of the above activities focus on implementation and assimilation of the latest agricultural practices and techniques used in Israel today, including:

Use of marginal, saline and recycled water for irrigation

Implementation of advanced micro irrigation and fertigation methods to maximize yield and save water

Development of proper nursery standards for production of disease-free seedlings of vegetables and orchards

Use of protected cultivation which allows growing out of season increases yield and decreases pesticide use.

Intensification and improvement of productivity of horticultural crops by controlling drainage, plant protection and canopy management, introduction of new varieties, hybrid seeds and new rootstock.

Post harvest technologies which allow longer shelf life and promise higher quality of fresh produce.

In accordance with the Agriculture Cooperation Agreement signed between the two countries in 2008, and with the three year work plan finalized between the Ministries of Agriculture of India and Israel in 2011, Indo-Israel agriculture cooperation projects are in various stages of implementation in 10 states across India:

Haryana - Two Centres of Excellence are fully operational - one for vegetables in Gharaunda, Karnal and one for fruits in Mangiana, Sirsa. Following the success of these centres, the government of Haryana has already announced its intention to establish numerous similar centres across the state.

Maharashtra - Work is being done to establish three Centres of Excellence - a citrus Centre in Nagpur, a pomegranate Centre in Rahuri, a Kaisar mango Centre in Aurangabad and an Alphonso mango Centre in Dapoli.

Tamil Nadu - A Centre of Excellence for vegetables is planned in Dindigul and a Centre of Excellence for flowers is planned in Krishnagiri.

Rajasthan - A Centre of Excellence for pomegranate is being built in Bassi, as well as a Centre of Excellence for vegetables. Two more Centres are planned for citrus in Kota and for dates in Jaisalmer.

Punjab - Two Centres of Excellence will be inaugurated this year. A Centre of Excellence for citrus in Hoshiyapur and a Centre of Excellence for vegetables in Jalandar.

Gujarat - Two Centres of Excellence are planned to be established: one for mango in Junagadh and one for vegetables in Vadrad.

Karnataka - Three initial plans for the establishment of Centres of Excellence are discussed: one for mango in Kolar, one for pomegranate in Bagalkot and one for vegetables in Belgaum.

In addition, work is underway to establish an agriculture cooperation project in UP, West Bengal and Bihar.

The above mentioned projects are conducted by the following organizations:

On the Israeli side: The Embassy of Israel in New Delhi, MASHAV - Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and CINADCO - The Centre for International Agricultural Development Cooperation within the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

On the Indian side: National Horticulture Mission, National Horticulture Board and Indian States Horticulture departments.