HOW ISRAEL DEVELOPED HIS AGRO-TECH AND WHAT INDIA CAN ADOPT FROM THEM
27 Aug 2019 | 08:05 AM | Aditya Narayan gupta
Israel is a major exporter of fresh produce and a world-leader in agricultural technologies. Israel is a world leader in agricultural research and development, which has led to dramatic increases in the quantity and quality of the country's crops. Israel produced 95% of its own food requirements, supplementing this with imports of grain, oilseeds, meat, coffee, cocoa and sugar.
Since independence in 1948, the total area under cultivation has increased from 408,000 acres (1,650 km2) to 1,070,000 acres (4,300 km2), while the number of agricultural communities has increased from 400 to 725. Agricultural production has expanded 16 times, three times more than population growth.
The development of Israel agriculture was not easy, Israel faced many problems during its development. Some of the major problems were -:
*Shortage of natural water resources
* Scarcity of precipitation
* Two thirds of Israel area is defined as semiarid or arid
* Shortage of “On farm labour”
* Complex geopolitical environment
* Distance from the export & import markets
Israel accepted the challenge and focused on its agriculture R&D. Israel believed that Agriculture relies not so much on a “natural” comparative advantage in farming, but on an “induced” comparative advantage built on technological progress and innovation.
some of the major steps taken by the Israel were -:
- The Agriculture sector has benefited from high levels of investment in research and development, well developed education systems and high performing extension serviced
- Israel has implemented an advanced water pricing policy and has encouraged innovation in water-related technologies.
- Water saving: improving irrigation practices, precision agriculture, preventing leaks, drip irrigation, public education.
- Environment friendly post harvesting technologies like hot water rinsing and brushing , modified atmoshphere packaging and long vase life of ornamentals.
- Knowledge and experience in introducing, together with mega-companies, new products and technologies into agricultural practice all over the world.
Evolution of Productivity In Agriculture & other sectors
one of the most critical issues for the farming community is availability of water. Fresh water withdrawals are highest by the agricultural sector, and accounts for nearly 84-85 percent of water withdrawal in India, which is well above the global average. India and Israel have had a very strong partnership in Agriculture. Under the India-Israel Agriculture Project, Centre of Excellences were established in various states which are helping the farming fraternity in India to adopt the farming fraternity in India to adopt the latest technologies such as micro irrigation systems.
Reports from previous surveys show that out of 160 million hectares of cultivable land in India, only 65 million hectares is covered under irrigation which is only 41%. And out of the potential area, only 8.6 million hectares currently covered under micro-irrigation.
Adoption of drip irrigation has been faster in water-stressed states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Gujarat. Due to lower water availability farmers in northern parts of India failed to adopt at an equal rate.
Israel is the example for the world in optimising the use of water in general and agriculture in particular. India has openly embraced Israel for this. Micro Irrigation Incubated in Israel and gradually spread worldwide, micro irrigation has proven to be a technology which has the potential to change the face of Indian agriculture.
Irrigation and Water Resources Management Technologies in Israel
- Israel produces 530MCM of treated water every year
- More than 80% of the water is used for irrigation
- Israeli systems account for 50% of the world's low pressure irrigation systems, reducing agricultural water consumption by 30%.
- Israeli companies have installed more than 350 desalination plants in nearly 40 countries.
- Among world’s lowest-cost producers of desalinated water: ~ $0.55/m3 vs $1.00/m3 world average.
- Waste water treatment technologies and recycling.
The collaboration with Israeli agricultural technologies helped in bringing the most advanced innovations to the India farmers at affordable prices by adopting the concept of Technology transfers leading to "Make in India" combined with extension support by Agronomists from Israel.
It seems that Israel has a mission, a responsibility, not just to use technology to improve agriculture for its own population, but to lead the way and be a global innovator and pioneer, to help the world with the potential impending overcrowding crisis