Mumbai: Farmers from Maharashtra will soon get a chance to learn farming techniques from their Israeli counterparts in Yavatmal. The state government will be setting up an Open Centre of Excellence at Dehani village in Yavatmal district, which has been in the news for farmer suicides. The additional chief secretary of agriculture department, Bijay Kumar, said that the state would invite Israeli farmers to share their farming methods.
Mr Kumar was part of a delegation that had gone to Israel last week to see and analyse farming techniques in that country. The delegation was led by state agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar and also included the managing director of Maharashtra Agro Industries Development Corporation (MAIDC). During their three-day tour of Israel, Mr Fundkar discussed several issues with his Israeli counterpart. The state has also sought help from Israel in helping it to increase the income of farmers.
Mr Kumar said that the department is planning to adopt the Israeli ‘Mosav’ model of community farming at the Yavatmal centre. “Mosav is Israel’s community group farming which is different and unique. It is meant to benefit farmers as much as possible, so that their income increases.”
Primarily, Israeli help will be sought to increase the production of citrus fruits like orange and sweet lime in the state. Israel has done a lot of research in this field and has developed multiple varieties of seeds. Nanded has the processing units of Orange but the farmers are unable to supply oranges as per demand of the processing units. Mr Kumar said, “We will have to increase production so that the demands can be fulfilled. Therefore, we will take help from Israel to increase the production of oranges,” he said.
The country is likely to supply Maharashtra farmers with a multiple varieties of orange seeds. The Israeli team will visit Maharashtra once the state government approves the agriculture department’s proposal.