Meghalaya will utilise the advanced technological inputs of Israel in agriculture and horticulture to increase production of vegetables and fruits and also significantly raise the quality of its produce.
To this end, Israel has proposed to set up two centres of excellence (CoE) in Meghalaya, which will focus on high-value vegetables and citrus fruits.
Today Chief Minister Conrad Sangma held an Indo-Israel Economic Cooperation dialogue on horticulture projects with Ambassador of Israel to India, Ron Malka.
Sangma said, “One centre will be set up at Jongksha village in East Khasi Hills district for high-value vegetables and another at Dawagre, East Garo Hills for citrus fruits.” Each CoE will cost around Rs 10 crore to set up and this will be financed by the central government.
“We are going to start the CoE and we are going to bring the best experts from Israel, the latest technologies and build a tailor-made programme for sharing our practices and experiences with the farmers of Meghalaya,” Malka said.
The Israeli Ambassador informed that, through the CoE, Israel will offer Meghalaya farmers insights on value chains from farm to consumer and will also help them in marketing their produce and making it competitive.
Malka said that in order to utilise and maximise the potential (of the produce) and to bring it to optimisation there is a need to do something that is tailor made.
“We are going to review and analyse the conditions of every farmer, what are their challenges and what are their advantages,” he said.
Israeli farming is technology-heavy, with drones and satellite images utilised for “precision agriculture”, Malka said, to target the amount of water and fertilisers required in order to get the best out of every inch of farmland.
“This is an important project because we feel that technology plays an important role in agriculture and horticulture. Keeping in mind the produce that we have in our state and because of the lack of technology and research, we are not able to get maximum benefit and profitability for our farmers,” Sangma said.