India, Israel sign agriculture treaty

via HK Correspondent published on May 10, 2006

TEL AVIV: India and Israel on Wednesday signed a three-year work plan for cooperation in the field of Agriculture. This comprehensive Work Plan is expected to lead to a breakthrough in advancing practical cooperation. Sharad Pawar, Union Minister of Agriculture and his Israeli counterpart Shalom Simhon signed the Work Plan on behalf of their respective Governments. The agreement assumes significance in the backdrop of the major developments made by Israel in Agriculture. 


Pawar is currently in Israel as the head of a senior delegation to Agritech 2006, a tri-annual international agricultural event showcasing the latest technologies in the field. The official Indian delegation comprises, in addition to Pawar, senior officials from Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Nagaland.


The work plan signed on Wednesday envisages development of agri-business projects, collaborative R&D, academic and farmer-level exchanges and cooperation in gene bank resources. Israel will transfer technologies and techniques relating to Post-Harvest Management and Value Addition for Fruits, Vegetables and Dairy Products; Energy Efficient and Cost-Effective Greenhouse Structures; Development of the Dairy Sector; and Water Management, including Recycling of Domestic Wastewater for Irrigation (in this field, it may be noted that in Israel, 80% of the water used in agriculture is recycled wastewater!).


Collaborative research will include the development of crop-specific irrigation and fertigation schedules for Indian produce (suggested crops include mango, pomegranate, tomato, garlic, capsicum and more). The two countries also plan to set up a joint R&D Fund, offering seed money for joint projects promoting agricultural innovation.


Attention will also be accorded to the issue of Extension Service Systems – providing the individual farmer with real-time solutions and access to agricultural know-how and R&D – an area which is highly developed in Israel.


During his visit, Pawar will also hold discussions with the Israeli Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tzipi Livni. Pawar last visited Israel in November 2005, as a special envoy of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the memorial service held for the Late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. On that occasion, Pawar met with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Minister of Agriculture Yisrael Katz, and initiated the process which led to the formulation of the Work Plan for Cooperation in the Field of Agriculture.

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