A delegation of 26 farmers from 24 districts of Jharkhand on a four-day exposure visit to Israel to learn modern agriculture techniques, was sent as per the directions of the Chief Minister Shri Raghubar Das. This is for first time in Jharkhand that any state government has sent a farmers' delegation on an exposure trip overseas.

The farmers were accompanied by Agriculture Director Ramesh Gorakh Gholap, Joint Director Subhash Singh, Horticulture Director Vijay Kumar, DCs of Hazaribagh and Garhwa Ravi Shankar Shukla and Neha Arora. The government arranged this tour to Israel via Delhi at an estimated cost of Rs 50 lakh.

"We want five farmers from each district to go to Israel in a phased manner to learn new technologies in agriculture. The BJP government is committed to double the income of farmers of Jharkhand in five years, which is also my top priority," the chief minister said.

He added that Jharkhand and Israel had one thing in common. "Like Israel, our state also faces water crisis. But Israel overcame the problem by introducing drip irrigation. There are so many things to learn in Israel. On their return, these trained farmers will impart training to farmers of their locality," chief minister said, adding that Jharkhand farmers would interact with Israel farmers who form companies on their own and market agri products and get inspired.

The Chief Minister Das said he would hold a farmers' summit in November in Jharkhand where farmers, scientists and researchers from across the world would be invited. "Farmers of Jharkhand will have something special for them in the next budget," he added.

The farmers' delegation flew to Delhi from Birsa Munda Airport from where they would catch flight for Israel. They will stay in Tel Aviv.

Next Day farmers will visit Israel farms and see for themselves autonomous irrigation and hydroponic farming technology. On Second day , they will check out Metzer drip irrigation systems, visit a organic green centre that displays newest agricultural technologies in vegetables, fruits, poultry and aquaculture (farming of fish, crustaceans, molluscs).

On the following day and the day after, they would visit a food processing plant and meet Israel farmers. On August 31, they will return to Delhi.

Farmer delegates were excited. An educated farmer from Sahebganj, Neeraj Hembrom, who owns 42 acres and earns Rs 10 lakh a year as a farmer, said this exposure trip was a dream. "I am a political science graduate and I also read up on modern farming techniques and adopt them whenever I can. But, from this trip I will learn a lot, especially from live demos, and will come back to share my expertise with other neighbouring farmers," he said, conveying his gratitude to the government for this opportunity.

He said he searched for jobs after completing his graduation. "One day, my father said, agriculture is not a bad business and it's really bad that educated people look down on farming. I realised he was right." Another delegate, elderly Palamau farmer Ranjeet Kumar Singh, who owns 150 acres, but has been suffering losses and debts in agriculture due to drought, said the Israel trip was a "lifetime opportunity to learn drip irrigation". Garhwa's dairy farmer Satish Kumar Tiwari, who has an annual turnover of around Rs 25 lakh, said he wanted to "learn marketing strategy" from the trip.

In the coming months, three more delegations of farmers will visit Israel, one after Durga Puja and the next two in January and March 2019. "These progressive farmers are selected by DCs," said agriculture secretary Puja Singhal.



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