In 2016, undergraduate business student Harshit Godha ran across an article that inspired a dream: establishing one of India’s first commercial avocado orchards. Wanting to learn from Israeli experts how to do this in his hometown of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, whose climate is similar to Israel’s, Godha contacted Benny Wisse at Kibbutz Ma’agan on the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee.
“I emailed Benny to ask if he could teach me about avocado farming. He was kind enough to invite me to visit his farm in Kibbutz Ma’agan and learn from him. I was thrilled and excited,” said Godha, now 26. “I saw Benny for the first time at the Ben-Gurion Airport when I arrived in Israel. I don’t know why, but I had a gut feeling that it would work out just fine. Had I told my family that I never even had a face-to-face video call with Benny before going to Israel, they would have never approved,” he added.
Although Godha launched Indo Israel Avocado at the end of 2019, he didn’t get his hands on the plants until this summer. The project was beset with delays. First, building the greenhouse took longer than expected. Then it took half a year to secure the necessary permits to import hundreds of heat-resistant avocado plants from Oren Nursery in Israel. By that time, the season for planting was passing by.
He will need ongoing guidance and patience; it takes three years after planting for the trees to bear fruit. “My journey so far hasn’t been an easy one. I was losing years of my precious time each time my consignment got delayed. My friends and some family members suggested I should give up,” he admitted. “Benny always advised having patience, that in the long run, it wouldn’t matter. Oren said that the field I have chosen is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Their words helped me during the tougher days,” he said.
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