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Israeli irrigation project increases projection in IndiaA drive down Israel's countryside is an eye-opener. Lush agriculture fields nestle amid the desert that covers at least 60% of the country. But, slowly, the harsh terrain is giving way to fields. This is a remarkable feat, considering that the country, tiny though, gets just 300mm average rainfall every year. In contrast, India is experiencing its second consecutive drought year and many parts of the country, including Tamil Nadu, are facing an acute drinking water crisis. Incidentally, the annual average rainfall of Tamil Nadu is 1,500mm.
In the vegetable belt of Reddiyarchatram village, 16km from Dindigul, a southern town in Tamil Nadu, the state government's horticulture project officer K Srinivasan oversees a Centre of Excellence, an Indo-Israel collaborative project. Fully funded by the Centre, the initiative is creating more than a buzz in the parched region. Here, the centre showcases vegetable cultivation in poly green and insect-proof net houses using drip irrigation. "A hundred farmers from Thanjavur just visited us to study these farming methods," said Srinivasan.
Israel has helped India set up nine such centres across the country, with one more in Tamil Nadu — in Thali, Krishnagiri district — where flowers are grown. The Union government has sanctioned 26 such CoEs in all.
Subburaj Govindasamy, a farmer of Sellakuttiyur village, 30km from Dindigul town, said he was happy with the Israeli takeaway. He visited the CoE three years ago. "I used to grow guavas. But, with the new technology, and poly houses I am growing cucumbers. I got a yield of 120,000 kg," he said. Kerala is a huge market for his cucumbers that is sold at the big Ottanchatram market in the south. "I found that the water I used for one acre, earlier following the traditional method, can irrigate five acres now with these new technologies," said the 69-year-old economics graduate, who has a one-acre holding in his hamlet and one acre in Sundarapuri taken care of by his son Ramesh.
Read more at The Times of India
Publication date: 4/18/2017
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