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Israel- India Cooperation in Agriculture and Water Technology Israel-India Economic Relations India is Israels second-largest trading partner

after the United States. Bilateral trade has blossomed from just $80 million in 1991 to about $5 billion in 2010. India-Israel relations continue to develop strongly in several areas, including agriculture, trade, water resources and cutting-edge technologies, says Navtej Sarna, India's ambassador to Israel.[1] Since 1999, Indias Ministry of External Affairs and Israels Foreign Ministry have held annual bilateral consultations in Jerusalem and New Delhi.[2] In September 2003, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon became the first Israeli premier to visit India, resulting in a significant upgrading of relations and the joint signing of the Delhi Statement on Friendship and Cooperation.[3] In 2010, Israel and India began talks on a free trade agreement.[4] In November 2010, the India Israel Forum held under the auspices of Tel Aviv University and the Confederation of Indian Industry, held its third meeting in New Delhi.[5] Israeli co-operation with India in the field of agriculture and water technology is growing both through government-sponsored initiatives and private business deals. Government Initiatives in Agriculture and Water Technology MASHAV, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs Centre for International Cooperation, has sponsored a wide range of activities including courses in various fields in Israel and India on health, agriculture, education and management. Since 1998, Israel has sponsored a $2 million horticultural demonstration farm at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute at Pusa, New Delhi. The project aims to demonstrate different technologies for intensive and commercially oriented peri-urban cultivation of horticultural crops for improved quality and productivity. The project farm serves as a center for R&D, training and the transfer of new technology.[6] In 2006, an Agricultural Cooperation Agreement was signed between the Israeli and Indian Ministers of Agriculture initiating a longterm cooperation program implemented in India under the supervision of a MASHAV agricultural expert sent to the region. The first phase, from 2009-2011, is taking place in Haryana, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat States, and focuses on the transfer of agricultural technologies including the establishment of demonstration centers in each state. In Haryana and Maharashtra the main focus is given to mangoes, olives, pomegranates and citrus crops, as well as to vegetables and spices. In Rajasthan and Gujarat, agricultural practices focus on irrigation and water management including utilization of wastewater purification technologies for irrigation. Professional training by MASHAV experts is conducted in India and in Israel, including courses and consultation missions.[7] In 2008, Israel and India signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the field of agriculture, establishing six centers of excellence covering production of vegetables and fruit using ultra-modern technologies in Haryana and Maharashtra and new projects for the use of saline water and drip irrigation in Gujarat and Rajasthan.[8] Since 2009, Agron Agri Projects based in Petach Tikva has been working in the Cherrapunjee region in the Indian state of Meghalaya known as the wettest place on earth to store rainwater and help reforest after the monsoon season. Agron is deploying its expertise in water management to prevent monsoon rains from polluting potable water sources. A $5 - $10 million pilot project funded by the Indian government included water conservation techniques and showing communities affected by the monsoon how to build, water, and sustain their own nurseries and plantations.[9] In December 2010, Israel and India agreed to expand the scope of ongoing joint research and development ventures in the field of agro-tech industries, irrigation and water management with India during a visit to Israel by BJP president Nitin Gadkari. The work plan provides for collaborative research in fertigation, soil less culture for growing high value horticulture crops, cooperation in development and evaluation of energy efficient greenhouse structures, studies on recycling of domestic wastewater for irrigation, post harvest management and value addition for fruits, vegetables and dairy products and dairy development through genetic improvement utilising germplasm from Israel.[10] Also in December 2010 it was reported that Israeli experts on the cultivation of mangoes were advising India's State Horticulture Department. Two experts from the Israel Agriculture Ministry's Extension Services Department made a number of visits to India's Tamil Nadu region, seeking to prompt mango growers there to adopt modern cultivation methods, thereby increasing their mango crop yield.[11] In January 2011, the first Indo-Israel Centre of Excellence for vegetables was inaugurated in Gharaunda town, Haryana. Through the project, Israeli and Indian experts share technology and undertake protected cultivation of various vegetables, including tomatoes, cucumbers and capsicum, providing a live demonstration of Israeli agricultural technology and know-how to local farmers.[12] Business Cooperation in Agriculture and Water Technology Several major Israeli companies in the field of agricultural and water technology have established Indian subsidiaries and long-term projects with Indian business partners. Netafim, the worlds largest micro-irrigation company, based in Tel Aviv, established a subsidiary, Netafim Irrigation India, in 1997, with headquarters in Vadodara, Gujarat. Netafim pioneered the worlds first drip irrigation system in 1965 and now provides irrigation solutions for agriculture and landscaping and has carried out numerous projects around the world. India became Netafims second largest market in 2008 and continues to grow.[13] In 2008, Netafim opened a second factory in the southern Indian city of Chennai, making India the only nation to have more than one Netafim factory outside of Israel.[14] Netafim reached sales of nearly $500 million in 2007 and plans to double that number by next year partly due to its growth in India. Netafim also bases its global engineering and planning in India, although it remains an Israeli company.[15] In the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, known as the Rice Bowl of India, Netafim has conducted agricultural training programs including irrigation scheduling, fertigation and crop protection. The project put 14,826 acres (6,000 hectares) of land under sprinkler and drip irrigation which were used for numerous crops such as sugarcane, citrus fruits, mango and cotton.[16] Recently, the company adapted its Family Drip System to meet the special conditions of mainstream farming in India. In the state of Jharkhand, the company developed a new drip-irrigation system for small family farms of less than a quarter of an acre using gravity

to get around the problem of irregular water and electricity supplies. The new system was more effective and half the price of existing irrigation systems and has been introduced to 100,000 small farms.[17] Another Indo-Israel irrigation giant is Naan Dan Jain. The parent company, Jain Irrigation Systems, controls more than 60% of the Indian irrigation market, and is responsible for revolutionizing the Indian agricultural sector through advanced and economical irrigation technologies. Jain Irrigation Systems bought 50.01 per cent of NaanDan Irrigation Systems for $21.5 million in June 2007 in what was then the largest investment by an Indian company in Israel.[18] Plastro Plasson Industries (India) Ltd. is an Indo-Israel joint venture company, established in 1992. The company specializes in micro irrigation. PPIL offers a wide range of products and solutions in the field of precise irrigation and intensive agriculture cultivation. The solutions include drip and micro irrigation systems and turnkey projects for all agriculture sectors such as row crops, horticulture, green houses, plantations, orchards, nurseries and more. The manufacturing unit is situated at Urse, near Pune.[19] Israel is also one of the pioneers and leaders in desalination sphere. Israeli companies specialise in the development, engineering, production and operation of advanced desalination systems and innovative water and cooling industrial solutions. Since 1994, IDE Technologies Ltd, based in Kadima has 22 thermal desalination facilities in the industrial sector, and a total installed capacity of approximately 270,000 cubic meter/day. The desalination facilities provide water for various applications ranging from nuclear power generation to oil refineries and industrial facilities. Some of the desalination plants are among the worlds largest of their kind. IDEs activities in India have proved successful in building reliable, durable and economical desalination plants producing high quality water for industry production and for the benefit of surrounding communities, while enabling significant energy saving. Some of the major Indian corporations using IDEs solutions include large refineries in Jamnagar, Gujarat; a gas production facility near Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh; a cement plant in Gujarat and a power station in Kudankulam.[20] Finolex Plasson was pivotal in introducing low-cost irrigation system as well as new age fertilisers and nutrients that have resulted in record yields and productivity with substantial savings.[21] The Institute of Simplified Hydroponics is a partnership between CV Prakash and Prof Raanan Katzir, a world-renowned Israeli agronomist expert in the field of sustainable agriculture and director of SACOG in Israel. He specializes in the sustainable management of natural resources as soil, water, crops, animal husbandry, climate and human resource for better agricultural production and food security.[22] In 2010, Israeli company Arad Technologies won a tender worth $32 million to supply 300,000 water meters for a project in Mumbai, together with Actaris Metering Systems of France. The tender was the first part of a project totalling 1.2 million meters at a value of $128 million. Mumbai is trying to improve its municipal water use by locating leaks. Arad has pioneered web-based water metering and is also developing a fly-by drone plane that reads meters for rural areas.[23] Top Greenhouse Ltd. is a company dealing with the manufacture and construction of greenhouses and related products. It is a subsidiary of Elyahu Zalman and Sons Ltd. Group, Israel, which specializes in the design and manufacture of internationally proven steel products.[24]