‘Expertise hunting’ on in Rajasthan for farm sector

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Nov 09, 2016

Jaipur: Rajasthan is reaching out to countries across the globe such as Israel, Australia, New Zealand and Serbia, to gain from expertise in all facets of agriculture — from seed technology to post-production.

“A farm product which perishes in two days in India stays fresh for up to ten days in Israel. We need to adopt such technologies to increase the shelf life of our food items so that they can be sent to far-off markets,” Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said speaking at the inauguration of the three-day Global Rajasthan Agriculture Meet (GRAM) meet in Jaipur on Wednesday.

At the global meet, an expert from Serbia will share expertise on seed technology, while another from the Netherlands will talk about climate change issues and solutions in agriculture.An olive expert from Israel will speak on technologies related to olive cultivation and an Australian expert will give a presentation on dairy and animal husbandry. The event is jointly organised by the Rajasthan government together with industry body FICCI.

Israel, which has already assisted Rajasthan in excelling in a number of farm produce including horticulture, is ready to take the partnership further. “The President of Israel is visiting India next week and the two main fields in which he wants more engagement are agriculture and water,” pointed out Daniel Carmon, Israel’s Ambassador to India, speaking at the event.

“Improving shelf-life of horticulture products, modern warehousing, cold-chain management, agri-logistics and easy access to national and international markets are issues that concern us,” Raje said.

“We have tried to get the best countries in various farm technologies, innovations and know-how in the on-going global agriculture meet so that they can share their know-how with us and our farmers can benefit,” she added.

Despite focusing on technology and growth, the fate of a farmer in Rajasthan still depends on the mercy of nature, like in many other parts of the country. For instance, last year due to untimely hail, a number of farmers in the State suffered huge damages leading to alleged suicides. The Prime Minister’s crop insurance scheme launched this year is expected to provide better risk coverage, but it has to be put to test.

Rajasthan already leads in production of more than ten items in India such as barley, maize and seed spices. It was ranked third in the ‘Agricultural Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index’ of the Niti Aayog this year.

“The Centre will assist Rajasthan in whatever it aspires to do,” promised Parshottam Rupala, Minister of State for Agriculture.

Raje already held meetings with the Ambassadors of Israel, Australia and New Zealand in New Delhi discussing with them the kind of co-operation in the area of farm technology she envisaged with the countries.

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