One million olive plants could make parts of Thar Desert go green over the next five years, just like south Israel’s Negev desert.
“The greening of the Negev desert, an ‘agricultural miracle’, is a model waiting to be replicated in Thar,” pioneering Israeli agriculturist of Indian origin, Eliahu Bezalel, told HT. Bezalel’s technologies are currently being tried at an Alphonso orchard in Kerala.
India’s farm secretary T. Nanda Kumar is slated to visit Israel in February to intensify technology transfers. The high-level exchanges first took place when India and Israel signed the 2006 Agriculture Work plan.
India’s Jain Irrigation Ltd has acquired a 50 per cent stake in Israel’s Naandan Irrigation Systems for US $ 21.5 million. The countries are engaged in a three-year plan to bring Mideast and Mediterranean crops to India. And Israel is looking to exploit India’s genetic resources to select crops best suited for it.
Last year, the Rajasthan agriculture board, a micro-irrigation firm and an Israeli farm-tech company helped plant 50,000 olive saplings near Jaipur. “We should be able to export olives by 2011,” Ramesh Vyas of the Rajasthan Horticulture Society said.