Agriculture with a 54.6% share in India’s total employment and 17.5% share in India’s economy has become one of the important pillars of India’s developmental process (Chand 2014). But over the years, its less-than-impressive performance has raised concerns for Indian government. In 2013-14, the contribution of agriculture and allied sector to the total growth reduced to 4.6% from 5.8% in 2007-08 (Ministry of Agriculture, 2014). To improve its performance, government is taking the recourse of several measures such as availability of formal credit to the farmers in the form of Kisan Credit Card, Special Rehabilitation Package for distress farmers. With international cooperation, Government of India is collaborating bilaterally and multilaterally with those countries which have earned the worldwide recognition of resolving the unsolvable problems through which India is currently passing on.
Latest agricultural technology from Israel
The agriculture sector of Israel is characterized by high technological advancement, automatic and controlled mechanization and high quality seeds and plants (Tarchitzky n.d.). It fulfills almost all of its food requirements through domestic production. Water management or efficient use of available water resources in which India is facing huge challenges is one such problem that has been resolved by Israel very successfully. Under the next generation Subsurface Drip Irrigation program, it has taught lessons to all countries for using the treated waste water which results in more efficient use of water coupled with high crop growth. Production under protected conditions has become the principal way for Israeli growers to ensure a constant, year –round supply of high quality products while minimizing the use of chemicals (Moisa n.d.). Green houses are used to protect high-value added crops such as flowers, and fruits from fluctuations in climatic conditions.
The plastic used in covering these green houses is polyethylene with three –or-five layer technology which protects plants from dust and other climatic conditions which can harm the growth of the crops. All over the world, Israel is one of the countries which is known for conducting rigorous research on developing different varieties of seeds. By developing hybrid seeds which has long durability under storage in addition to having high degree of adaptability to varied climatic conditions such as drought. Israel exports worth of $150 miilion seeds to different countries and caters the needs of its domestic populations. Agriculture Extension Service of Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Israel play a crucial role in transferring the agricultural knowledge to farmers, imparting the training to inexperienced farmers for developing advanced agriculture by using scarce resources. Moreover, the aim of this service is to promote the quality production and to enhance the abilities for exploiting the comparative advantages of different regions, both for export and local markets (Moisa n.d.). These are some of the technological advancements of Israel in the realm of sustainable agriculture that could increase the agriculture productivity in India by reforming this sector in multi dimensions.
India and Israel collaborations to improve agriculture productivity
Under The Joint Declaration for Cooperation in Water Technologies which was signed between Indian Ministry of Urban Development and the Israeli Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Labor, Israel is assisting India in reducing the cost of desalination of water in addition to recycling the water for irrigation purpose (Kumar 2014). Israel is also supporting India in fulfilling the food requirements of its vast population by exporting new crops, hybrid seeds and products which have earned the huge recognition in international markets. Indian states such as Haryana, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan has already been benefitted in the arena of horticulture, mechanization, orchard and canopy management, post harvest management under Action Plan 2008-10 (Kumar 2014). India has marked success in achieving the aim of self –sufficiency in food security in the first phase of Green Revolution. Now, India is in the phase of its second ‘Green Revolution’ the objective of which is to transit toward sustainable agriculture by protecting its natural resources and reducing the harmful pesticides and diversification of its food baskets (Mashav n.d.).
To implement these objectives, the Indian government has partnered with Israel’s agency for International Development Cooperation under Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In this joint collaboration, it was decided to establish the ‘Centre of Excellence’ by both the governments and state government which is responsible for allocating the land and manpower (Mashav n.d.). The basic objective of establishing Centers of Excellence is to transfer the technologies such as drip irrigation, fertilisation and protected cultivation to the farmers in order to achieve high agricultural productivity (Mashav n.d.). The result of establishing these centers under the joint supervision of Israeli and Indian expert is that there is a very high increase in the production of tomato, colored capsicum at the centre of Karnal in Haryana with a reduction of 65% of water use and noticeable decrease in the use of fertilizers and pesticides (Mashav n.d.). Another example of high agricultural yield is mango at the centre of Dapoli in Maharashtra. By applying the technique of rejuvenating senile mango orchard at the Dapoli Centre of Excellence, the farmers of Dapoli have achieved the marked success in mango production.
India’s population is growing day by day with a rapid pace of urbanization and industrialization that pose huge challenges before Indian government. Therefore, judicious use of its scarce natural resources is the need of hour for Indian government. It can be made possible by reforming the domestic policy framework for educating each strata of the society coupled with learning the lessons from those countries which are managing their natural resources very rationally while resolving the problems very successfully through which India is passing on currently.
- Ministry of Agriculture. 2014. “Annual Report.” Government of India. http://agricoop.nic.in/Annualreport2013-14/artp13-14ENG.pdf (November 5, 2015).
- Chand, Ramesh. 2014. “From Slowdown to Fast Track: Indian Agriculture since 1995.” National Centre for AgriculturalEconomic and Policy Research: 26. http://www.ncap.res.in/upload_files/Slowdown_final for printing.pdf (November 4, 2015).
- Kumar, Taruni. 2014. “India and Israel: Reinforcing the Partnership.” Observer Research Foundation: 12. http://www.orfonline.org/cms/export/orfonline/modules/issuebrief/attachments/ORF_Special_Report_7_1420183115906.pdf (November 4, 2015).
- “The Indo-Israeli Agriculture Project.” Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation: 12. http://embassies.gov.il/delhi/Departments/Documents/Israel – India Agriculture Cooperation (MASHAV Brochure).pdf (November 5, 2015).
- Moisa, Smadar. “Israel’s Agriculture.” Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, Israel. http://www.moag.gov.il/agri/files/Israel’s_Agriculture_Booklet.pdf (November 4, 2015).
- Tarchitzky, Dr. Jorge. “National Report Israel.” United Nations. http://www.un.org/esa/agenda21/natlinfo/countr/israel/agriculture.pdf (November 4, 2015).