India, Israel sign work programme for joint agriculture project

India, Israel sign work programme for joint agriculture project
The work programme will aim to grow existing centres-of-excellence, establish new centres, increase CoE’s value chain, bring CoEs into self-sufficient mode, and encourage private sector companies and collaboration

Taking forward the partnership in agriculture between India and Israel, the two governments have agreed to enhance their cooperation in agriculture and signed a three-year work programme agreement for development in agriculture cooperation under Indo-Israel Agriculture Project (IIAP), while affirming the ever-growing bilateral partnership and recognising the centrality of agriculture and water sectors in the bilateral relationship.

India and Israel are implementing the “Indo-Israel Agriculture Project Centres of Excellence” and “India-Israel Villages of Excellence”.

Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmer’s Welfare, Government of India, and MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation – are leading Israel’s largest G2G cooperation, with 29 operational centres-of-excellence (COEs) across India in 12 states, implementing advanced-intensive agriculture farms with Israeli agro-technology tailored to local conditions. The centres-of-excellence generate knowledge, demonstrate best practices and train farmers. Every year, these CoEs produce more than 25 million quality vegetable seedlings, more than 387 thousand quality fruit plants and train more than 1.2 lakh farmers about latest technology in the field of horticulture.

Speaking on the occasion, Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India said that the agriculture sector always remained a priority for India. Due to the agrarian policies of the government, there was a definite change in the lives of the farmers and the agriculture sector. The minister said that India and Israel have had bilateral relations since 1993 in the agricultural sector. This is the 5th IIAP. “So far, we have successfully completed four action plans. This new work programme will further strengthen the bilateral relations and mutual cooperation between the two countries in the field of agriculture for the benefit of the farming community. The CoEs established under these Israel-based action plans are playing an important role in doubling farmers’ income. The exchange of technology between India and Israel will greatly improve the productivity and quality of horticulture, thereby increasing the income of farmers”, he added.

During signing the three year work programme, Sanjay Agarwal, Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare, India said, “These centres-of-excellence established under Indo-Israel Agriculture Project (IIAP) have become epicentres of transformation in horticulture sector. Our focus during the new work programme will be to convert the villages surrounding these CoEs into villages of excellence through massive outreach programmes”.

Israel’s Ambassador to India, Dr. Ron Malka said, “The three-year work programme (2021-2023) reflects the strength of our growing partnership and will benefit local farmers both through the centres-of-excellence and the villages-of-excellence”.

The work programme will aim to grow existing centres-of-excellence, establish new centres, increase CoE’s value chain, bring the centres-of-excellence into the self-sufficient mode, and encourage private sector companies and collaboration.

As for the ‘India-Israel Villages-of-Excellence’ is a new concept aimed at creating a model ecosystem in agriculture across eight states, alongside 13 centres-of-excellence within 75 villages. The programme will promote the increase of net income and better the livelihood of the individual farmer, transforming traditional farms into modern-intensive farms based on IIAP standards. Large-scale and complete value chain approach with economic sustainability, embedded with Israeli technologies and methodologies will be tailored to local conditions. The IIVoE programme will focus on modern agriculture infrastructure, capacity building and market linkage.

The work programme signing was also attended by Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Parshottam Rupala and Kailash Choudhary along with senior officers of Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, India’s Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare.

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