It would not be wrong to claim a land, as Mecca for farmers, whose geography is not conducive to agriculture, possese only 20 percent of naturally arable land and still is the major exporter of fresh produce and world leader in agricultural technology. Israel’s mention brings with it discussions about drip irrigation, designing better farms by using canopy management and use of improved irrigation and fertigation technologies etc. There are numerous farmers who have confided in the technology and methods that Israel has rendered to the world, using which the farmers are drawing good returns. Locating such farmers, Agriculture World came across one in Bhuj, Gujarat, Western India, who visited Israel in 2005. He understood the dynamics of scientific technology that Israel has been using and manipulated in the Indian resources to bring out the best.
Ishwar Pindoria, since 2005, has been growing, mango of Kesar variety, date palm of exotic selection of Elite dates (local variety), and date palm variety - Barhi. The various technologies that Ishwar has been using at his farm are:
a) Sub-surface drip irrigation
b) Irrigation scheduling as per the rate of evaporation measured with Class-A pan evaporimeter
c) Canopy management for the mango plantation
d) Bunch management and fruit-thinning in date palm
e) Post-harvest management and grading, packaging in date palm
f) Pest and disease management
g) Soil-moisture monitoring and irrigation scheduling
h) Fertigation management etc.
Ishwar says, “The Israeli technology is better in so many ways. It uses water judiciously, more than 60 percent of water is saved, with better crop yield eventually saving input expenditures like electricity, manpower, fertilizers etc.” Ishwar stresses that due to sub-surface irrigation, there is almost zero rate of evaporation of water and also hampers weed growth which cuts down investments and due to optimum irrigation, maximum yields with minimum irrigation results in healthy crops.
The Government of India and Israel are working for the welfare of the farmers and agricultural community altogether, by setting up the center of excellences in various states, giving different crops exceptional emphasis and making available the technology to the Indian farmers. Ishwar adds, “A lot more can be done with this technology transfer if a proper and certain level of awareness is created among the farmers especially in the rural areas.”
This man who does farming on 38 acres of Gujarat, hardly uses any pesticides except for severe conditions which occur rarely amidst his opulent care. Though investments are comparatively higher, the outputs are fair-enough when compared to the traditional ways of agriculture. Ishwar mentions, “It is easy if one understands the technology well, otherwise it may appear to be complex. I have personally not found it very difficult”.
Ishwar’s trajectory to understand the agricultural land of Israel is worth eulogizing. He visited Israel in 2005 right from the sea of Galilea in the north across the Dead Sea in the south to study the technology.He also had the opportunity to attend the Agritech fair. He visited many Kibutz, farms, Moshavs and also moved around with a friend Abner Chin who showed him around. Chaim Oren is a date palm expert, who in 2015 happened to visit his farm for the first time and since then there has been constant exchange of conversations and learning of techniques specifically for date palms.
Before setting up his farm in Gujarat, Ishwar travelled extensively to U.K., Canada, Spain, Africa etc. After studying the prevailing practices of those places which are based on their geographical and climatic conditions, Ishwar made an effort to imbibe them and mould it in such a way that it can be used here along with the traditional Indian methods and the modern Israeli scientific approach which have resulted in very satisfying and very productive output in agriculture.
“In today’s rapidly changing scenario,a combination of the modern scientific approach as per the Israeli technology and the traditional Indian practices, involving minimum inputs and yielding maximum results seems to be the need of the hour. This can be achieved by cooperative farming similar to the Kibbutz concept from Israel, a lot can really be done.” says Ishwar.