New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) Israel will offer technology and know-how to India to diversify its fruit and vegetable crops and raise their yield, senior Israeli officials have said.
New Delhi will also get help to set up 28 centres of excellence in 10 states over the next three years.
"We are providing technologies and know-how. Our focus is on training the trainers," Daniel Carmon, head of Mashav, Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation, told IANS.
Carmon said Israel will help set up 28 centres of excellence in 10 states, of which eight are likely to be functional by the end of 2013. Each centre will be focussed on specific fruit and vegetable crops.
Israel is a world leader in agriculture technologies. Despite limited water resources and a difficult environment, the yield per acre of most of the farm products in that country is among the highest in the world.
Carmon said yield can rise manifold in India with the help of generic Israeli technologies and agricultural techniques.
"We congratulate India on being self-sufficient in food. Feeding 1.2 billion people is not an easy task. But with improvement in technology, a lot more can be achieved," he said.
Carmon said Israel would also offer help in increasing milk output in India. Average milk output per cow in Israel is around 12,000 litres, the highest in the world.
According to Uri Rubinstien, counsellor for international cooperation (Mashav), science and agriculture, at the Israeli embassy here, Israel is providing seeds and technologies to help grow new variety of vegetables and fruits like capsicum, cucumber, mango, dates and herbs.
"We will be introducing a variety of coloured capsicum and a new variety of cucumber and other vegetables," Rubinstien told IANS.
Most vegetable and fruit crops in India are seasonal and have short life span. "Increasing the life span will boost output and earnings to farmers," Rubinstien said.
One centre of excellence, to focus on orchards, was recently inaugurated in Haryana's Sirsa district. Also in Haryana, another centre is proposed to be set up near Karnal, focussed on vegetables.
Carmon said two centres were functional in Maharashtra and would be formally inaugurated soon. Other states where the centres would be located include Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Gujarat and Karnataka.
Agriculture cooperation projects are also planned to be set up in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal.
Rubinstien said Israeli technologies and know-how would play a significant role in the second green revolution in India.
"Now India needs to focus on increasing production of healthier food like vegetables, fruits and milk. We have proven technology and would like India to benefit from it," he added.
(Gyanendra Kumar Keshri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)