Israel and India are planning to tighten their horticultural cooperation with an extension to their existing agricultural work plan over the next three years.
The second phase of the plan, which was put into play in Haryana and Maharashtra under India’s National Horticulture Mission (NHM) in 2008-10, comes as free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations between India and Israel draw closer to a conclusion.
Phase two of the agricultural cooperation plan will be funded by a US$25m contribution by each government, reported the Financial Chronicle.
The first project to come out of the cooperation will reportedly be a fruit research centre in Sirsa in Haryana. India and Israel said they intended to work on as many as 20 agricultural and water-related projects together.
“Good progress was achieved during implementation of `the` action plan from January 2008 to December 2010,” said Jyotiraditya Scindia, Indian minister of state for commerce and industry.
“A number of technologies in horticulture mechanisation, protected cultivation, orchard and canopy management, nursery management, micro-irrigation and PHM were achieved through visits of Israeli experts in Haryana and Maharashtra. `The` Government of Israel has also agreed for second phase of action plan by another three years.”
FTA negotiations between Israel and India are in advanced stages, according to Israel’s ambassador to India Alon Ushpiz.
“We have concluded three rounds of talks relating to `an` FTA and the fourth round is likely to be taken up in January next. We see this being concluded by December 2012, paving way for acceleration of trade between the two nations,” he said.
Trade between the two, which was valued at US$5.2bn in 2010/11, is expected to rise to around US$15bn following the implementation of a free trade deal, Ushpiz announced.