TN to use Israeli technology
The sight of farmers in Tamil Nadu watching anxiously for the arrival of monsoon may soon be a thing of the past. Israel is in talks with Tamil Nadu for improving water supply for agriculture by recycling sewage water. “We have planned for three such recycling projects in Tamil Nadu. While two are meant for better growing methods for cut-flowers and vegetables, one is aimed at re-using waste water for agriculture. The investment for this will come from the state government,” said Orna Sagiv, consul general of Israel during an Israeli Agriculture seminar. According to Sagiv, Israel ranks highest among all countries for re-use of waste water. “Over 80% of the water that we use is recycled for agriculture,” she said. “Israel being a desert state with few water resources, recycling has become extremely crucial to agriculture. We plan the same recycling here, but the plan is still in its initial stage and will be a government-to-government dealing rather than a business dealing.” Israel also plans to set up several agro excellence centres for transfer of knowledge in Tamil Nadu. “We had earlier signed an agreement with the National Horticulture Mission to set up such centres and fine-tune agriculture, pre and post harvest in Maharashtra and Haryana. After seeing the impact, now other states too have approached us,” added Sagiv who also met the chief minister on Monday to invite her to AgriTech Israel 2012. Although maintaining that all these projects are still in their infancy and details still needed to be worked out, Uri Rubinstein, counsellor, International Cooperation for Science and Agriculture, added that these will likely be started in May. “We shall first be targeting fruit orchards, primarily mangoes,” he said. “While the exact area for implementation has not been decided yet, we shall look for mango orchards close to existing sewage treatment plants here. The government here, has so far, subjected sewage and waste water to two levels of treatment. This does not completely remove impurities,” he added. According to Rubinstein, water in Israel is subjected to three levels of treatment, making it good enough to drink, but is used in agriculture. “We are planning something along those lines here, to begin with,” he said. “In the next three years, 28 projects involving cut flowers, mangoes, dates, oranges and olives shall be carried out in eight states.” Elad Gafni, trade attaché to the embassy of Israel in Mumbai who was also present at the seminar added that Tamil Nadu offers much business opportunities for Israel by way of agriculture and irrigation solutions. “We intend to harness upon that soon,” he said.