Karnataka to use Israeli technologies to boost horticulture

Under the Indo-Israel agriculture project, Karnataka would use Israeli technologies to increase horticulture production in the southern state, an official said on Wednesday.

“Under the project, three Centres of Excellence (CoE) have been set up to improve and boost production of mangoes at Kolar, pomegranate at Bagalkote and vegetables at Dharwad,” said the official.

The three centres were virtually unveiled jointly by Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar in New Delhi and state Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa here.

“The three CoEs in the state are part of 29 such centres in operation in 12 states across the country to use advanced Israeli agro-technology tailored to local conditions,” the official said in a statement.

The project is being implemented under the government-to-government (G2G) cooperation between the Agriculture Ministry’s mission for integrated development of horticulture division and Israel’s agency for international development cooperation.

“The CoEs will demonstrate best practices and train the growers to choose and adopt the technology that suits them to boost output and double income,” said the official.

For instance, the CoE at Kolar will generate new varieties of mangoes by adopting best cultivation practices and using Israeli rootstocks, based on commercial hi-tech nursery management.

“The centre will define canopy management guidelines to rejuvenate old trees and plant new young orchards. It will also implement drip-irrigation and fertigation systems for optimal water use,” said the official.

Similarly, the CoE at Bagalkote will introduce irrigation management-based on precision agriculture by satellite imaging, advanced fertigation and beneficial demonstration of super Bhagwa canopy management techniques to improve and increase pomegranate production.

Fertigation is the application of specialty fertilisers through drip-irrigation.

“The CoE at Dharwad will produce quality seedlings, demonstrate best practices in greenhouse structures with Israeli standards, introduce Israeli vegetable varieties and generate nematode solutions,” said the statement.

The cooperation between the two countries envisages the setting up Indo-Israel Villages of Excellence (IIVoE) to create a model ecosystem in agriculture in eight states, including Karnataka, and link it with the CoEs at Bagalkote and Kolar.

“The IIVoE will establish modern agriculture infrastructure, support farmers with capacity building activities and enhance market linkage to optimise the profitability of farmers,” said the statement.

Lauding the partnership, Yediyurappa said there is scope for adoption of new technologies in crop production and post-harvest management to boost horticulture production in the state.

“The CoEs will help the growers in the state to access Israeli technologies and adopt them to increase production and productivity for doubling their income,” said Tomar on the occasion.

Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi, who hails from Dharwad, said the centres would help farmers in getting quality seeds and technologies with automation irrigation and fertigation.

Israeli Ambassador to India, Ron Malka, said the partnership would give local farmers a competitive edge in the domestic and overseas markets for exports and for doubling their income.