India, Israel sign pact for the third phase of agriculture cooperation project

GANDHINAGAR: India and Israel have signed a joint agreement to implement the third phase of the agriculture cooperation project for next three years. A joint declaration 'the Indo-Israel Agricultural Cooperation Project ( IIAP) entering its third phase' was signed on the sidelines of the 'Vibrant Gujarat' summit by Israel's Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir, an official statement said.

In a meeting with India's Minister of State for Agriculture Mohanbhai Kalyanjibhai Kundariya, the Israeli Minister reviewed the 'Joint Agriculture Project' being implementing in the country since 2008. The two countries recognized the need to extend the existing cooperation, the statement added. India and Israel have agreed to establish a 'joint team' to finalize the 'third phase' of the three years action plan (2015-2018) for further strengthening and widening the scope of bilateral agricultural development cooperation between the two countries, said Indian government officials.

The joint team will submit the action plan by March this year, they added. In the first phase during 2008-10, five 'Centre of Excellence' for fruits and vegetables were set up in Haryana and Maharashtra, while in the second phase (2012-15), around 22 such centres are being established in different states.

At these centers, experts from Israel have been training Indian officers as well as farmers in nursery management, protected cultivation, post harvest management, use of poor quality water for irrigation, precision farming of micro-irrigation and other best agricultural practices. The joint agriculture project is being implemented as part of the agreement of Agri-cooperation signed between India and Israel way back in January 2008. The cooperation was extended till 2015.

On the sidelines of the summit, the Israeli Agriculture Minister met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed strengthening Agri-cooperation between two countries. He also met India's food processing minister.

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