Monday, October 25, 2010

(AGRI) Indo-Israel Centre For Excellence In Vegetables Starts Demonstrations

"The Haryana horticulture department has started organising demonstrations for farmers at the hi-tech Indo-Israel Centre for Excellence in Vegetables at Gharaunda near Karnal here. Work at the project is nearing completion and its formal inauguration is likely next month.

Last week, the first batch of 45 farmers from all the districts of the state was brought to the farm. The farmers were shown the walk-in tunnels, insect net houses, naturally ventilated green houses and hi-tech nursery that have been installed here, as part of the Indo-Israel project for excellence in agriculture. The cultivation of vegetables has been started in these protected structures and the diverse technologies are being demonstrated to the farmers so that they can choose the technology that suits them best.

Haryana Joint Director (Horticulture) A S Saini told The Indian Express that the project has been undertaken under the National Horticulture Mission, with the goal of maximising productivity and yield. 'We first took the delegation of farmers to Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh, and then to Ropar, Punjab, to show them the agricultural practices in use there. Then we brought them to the Indo-Israel project at Gharaunda, so that they could see for themselves the major difference in the technologies that we have demonstrated here with the help of Israeli agricultural specialists. They studied the technologies introduced here and how they can get a high yield from their farms if they adopt them,' said Dr Saini.

The cost of setting up these protected structures is Rs 800-900 per square metre and the Haryana government is giving a 50 per cent subsidy to farmers to encourage them to adopt these technologies.

Dr Avri Bar Zur, Counselor (International Cooperation-Science & Agriculture) of Israel had also come to the Gharaunda farm to interact with the farmers. Speaking to The Indian Express, he said, 'In these protected structures, farmers will be able to grow any vegetable even in the extreme weather conditions of winter or summer, when it is not possible to grow them in the open field. Vegetables grown here do not need any spray of insecticides, and are protected from pests too. Due to its proximity to Delhi, Haryana has a ready market for such produce and farmers can greatly benefit from the higher prices they will get for their healthy yield of off-season vegetables,' he highlighted.

Ram Dhan Sahu from Ranila, Bhiwani, was part of the farmers’ group visiting the Gharaunda farm. He admitted that while the initial cost of investment was high, the high yield from cultivation in these protected structures and good prices during the off-season would bring good profits to farmers. 'I own 50 acres and am considering setting up some insect-net houses on my farm,' he said.

The farmers also took guidance from Shelley Gantz, Extension Specialist from Israel, regarding irrigation and the optimum use of fertilisers. Gantz told The Indian Express, 'I had earlier come to the Gharaunda farm in April. The pace of work is good. We are now experimenting with various varieties and adjusting them to Indian conditions, to see which one yields the best results,' she stated." (source)

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