Narendra Singh Tomar: 75 Indian villages to be formed in collaboration with Israel:

To take India-Israel cooperation in agriculture to the next level, 75 Indian villages will be built in collaboration with Israel on the occasion of the country’s 75th independence anniversary, said Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

Tomar, who has been in Israel on a four-day official visit since May 8, met with his Israeli counterpart Oded Forar in the Knesset (Israeli parliament) on Wednesday.

They discussed various issues related to modern agricultural technology, capacity building, knowledge transfer and assistance in agriculture, water management, environment and rural development, keeping in view the opportunities and potential for agricultural development in both the countries. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare said in a statement.

As India and Israel celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, the ongoing bilateral partnership will be further strengthened through “mutual visits and sharing of experience”, the visiting minister said.

Tomar said India was celebrating its 75th independence anniversary this year, “It has been decided that we will build 75 villages of excellence in cooperation with Israel and then follow 75 more.”

Farrar expressed Israel’s desire to take the Center of Excellence (CoE) established by his country in different parts of India to the “next level”.

There are currently 29 fully operational centers of excellence in India that provide important information on emerging technologies in agriculture to increase farmers’ yields.

The Israeli agriculture minister said trade relations between the two countries would increase in the near future.

India and Israel have agreed to complete the process of finalizing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by June this year.

The agreement was reached during a meeting between Foreign Minister S Jayashankar and his Israeli counterpart Yar Lapid during Jaishankar’s visit to Israel in October last year.

A delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare, led by Tomar, has held extensive discussions with the Premier Institute of Agriculture and Horticulture and technology institutes.

The delegation visited the facilities of Green 2000-Agricultural Equipment and No How Limited and Netflim Limited who are engaged in planning, set-up, consulting and ongoing management of various micro and smart irrigation projects around the world.

“The highlight of the visit was learning about the application of technology and innovative methods of cultivation, focusing on high value crops, vegetables and fruits,” the delegation said.

Your roundtable discussion with more than half a dozen Israeli agritech startups at the Israel Export and International Co-operation Institute. He invited companies to work in India.

The delegation also visited the Agricultural Research Institute (ARO), Vulcany Institute, which is known for its expertise in agriculture in arid conditions, irrigated by insufficient soil, waste and saline water, and using post-crop damage control methods using the latest pest control and storage methods.

You have had lengthy discussions with the Institute’s post-doctoral fellows from India.

During the visit, the Indian delegation was shown the use of drone technology in a combination of advanced mapping and photography at Ganei Khan near Kibbutz Nan.

Tomar has exchanged views with ARO experts on various issues related to technological advancement in agriculture in the Indian context, the agriculture ministry said in a statement.

Topics discussed include crop cultivation in a protected environment, freshwater fish farming, improved plant protection techniques, precision farming, remote sensing and post-harvest science and technology, among others.

The Minister also visited a farm owned by Sharon Cherry, an Indian-origin farmer growing Indian vegetables in the Negev Desert.

The farmer owns Be’er Milka, a desert boutique farm in the Negev Desert area. He has adopted modern technology with the technical assistance of Ramat Negev Agro Research Center and is cultivating vegetables, fruits and superfoods in the heart of the Negev Desert, the ministry said in a statement.

“With the technical assistance of the Ramat Negev Agricultural Research Center in the desert region, cherries have excelled in cultivating Indian vegetables in extremely harsh terrain and climate,” the delegation told PTI.

The delegation also held talks with a delegation from MASHAV, an international development cooperation organization of the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

MASHAV is responsible for the design, coordination and implementation of the global development and cooperation program of the state of Israel in developing countries.

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