United with Israel
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Tel Aviv University (TAU) and the Indian philanthropic organization TATA TRUSTS have launched the Indian Centre for Agri & Allied Tech (I-CAT) whose objective is to bring Israeli expertise and innovation to farmers of the state of Andhra Pradesh in southern India.
The initiative, supported by the local government, will include an advanced research and development center, as well as agricultural experts working in villages and farms.
The objective of the initiative is to overcome various technological, agronomic and economic barriers the Indian farmers are dealing with, and to promote sustainable agriculture and food security.
There are plans to extend the program to all parts of India.
Assisted by TAU’s Boris Mints Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions to Global Challenges, the program will operate a joint TAU-TATA steering committee, collaborating with Israeli and Indian experts, in order to identify problems in rural India and find potential solutions in Israel.
Israeli research institutes will adapt existing technologies and will develop new solutions to meet the needs of Indian agriculture, while the R&D hub in Andhra Pradesh will test the various solutions under local conditions and train local workers to operate new technologies.
Farmers in each of the hundreds of villages throughout Andhra Pradesh will implement and test the new technologies in their own fields, while business models will be developed to support wide diffusion of the innovative solutions among the broader Indian farming population.
Israel’s Long History of Aid to Indian Farmers
Israel has a long and proud history of providing aid to Indian farmers.
In October 2017, thanks to Israeli drip irrigation, 15,000 farmers in Karnataka, southwestern India, harvested their first monsoon season crop in years.
Similarly, Israeli biotech company, BioFeed, developed a “no-spray” solution to kill the fruit flies that have devasted mango plantations in India.
In 2016, the Indian state of Haryana initiated micro-irrigation projects based on Israeli expertise at 14 sites. Israeli agricultural professionals work extensively in Haryana and neighboring Punjab, as well as around the country.
In December 2015, The Indo-Israel vegetable center of excellence in Haryana boosted the annual number of seedlings grown by state farmers from half a million in 2011 to six million in 2015. Farmers from Punjab, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh are also using the facility.
In April 2015, India signed a memorandum of understanding with Israel to set up a dairy development center in Haryan. It includes a model dairy farm with 110 cows to teach Indian farmers about Israeli technology to increase milk production.