The ministry of agriculture and farmers’ welfare has announced a three-year agreement between India and Israel for cooperation in agriculture and setting up more Indo-Israel villages of excellence to create a “model ecosystem” to boost the agriculture industry.
“The centres of excellence (CoEs) established under these Israeli-based technology action plans are playing an important role in improving productivity, quality of horticulture and doubling farmers’ income,” minister for agriculture Narendra Singh Tomar said at the function to sign the agreement with Israeli government officials.
India’s agriculture and farmers’ welfare ministry and “Mashav” ~ Israel’s nodal agency for sharing technology with developing countries ~ have 29 operational centres of excellence across India in 12 states, using advanced Israeli agro-technology for intensive farming customised to local conditions.
Then Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir, had established Mashav in 1958 after her country was excluded from the Bandung (Indonesia) Conference of 1955, following Arab countries threatening to boycott the Asia-Africa conference if Israel was invited.
Based out of Hotel Kibbutz Shefayim along Israel’s Mediterranean coast, Mashav shares its latest technologies to boost economies of developing countries and works with 16 international agencies, including the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, World Meteorological Association and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GiZ) in Bonn, Germany.
The latest three-year IndoIsrael work programme (2021- 2023) aims to enhance existing centres of excellence, establish new centres, increase the value chain of CoEs, ensure self-sufficiency of these centres of excellence, and encourage collaboration with private sector companies.
The centres of excellence generate “knowledge, demonstrate best practices and train farmers,” according to India’s agriculture ministry officials. The CoEs produce more than 25 million quality vegetable seedlings, 387,000 quality fruit plants and train more than 1.2 lakh farmers on horticulture technologies.
The new agreement for 2021-23 is the fifth such IndoIsrael action plan, following successfully implementing four phases starting in 2008. Maharashtra has four CoEs in Nagpur, Ahmednagar, Ratnagiri and Aurangabad to enhance the cultivation of mango, pomegranate and citrus fruits.
Similar CoEs use latest Israeli tech to grow fruits, vegetables, flowers and seed production in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Punjab, Mizoram, Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
“These centres of excellence established under Indo-Israel Agriculture Action Plan (IIAP) have become epicentres of transformation in the horticulture sector,” department of agriculture secretary Sanjay Agarwal said.
“Our focus during the new work programme will be to convert the villages surrounding these CoEs into villages of excellence through massive outreach programmes”, he said.
The Indo-Israel Villages of Excellence (IIVOE) is a new concept to create a model agriculture ecosystem in villages across eight states, alongside 13 centres of excellence within 75 villages.