By Sheetal Srivastava
Agriculture, the backbone of Indian economy, has been facing various challenges in recent years – lower productivity, resource crunch and erratic weather, all of these translating into lower returns.
Amongst these, one of the most critical issues for the farming community is availability of water. Fresh water withdrawals are highest by the agricultural sector, and accounts for nearly 84-85 percent of water withdrawal in India, which is well above the global average. India and Israel have had a very strong partnership in Agriculture. Under the India-Israel Agriculture Project, Centre of Excellences were established in various states which are helping the farming fraternity in India to adopt the latest technologies such as micro irrigation systems.
The Central & state government recognised the importance of drip technology way back in 2003, with the formation of ‘Task Force on Micro Irrigation’. Government has been extending subsidy through bodies like National Mission on Micro Irrigation (NMMI) to encourage farmers to take up drip irrigation in a big way. Now, under the central government’s new initiative to increase farm productivity, the micro irrigation sector has got the most needed fillip.
Israel is the example for the world in optimising the use of water in general and agriculture in particular. India has openly embraced Israel for this. Micro Irrigation Incubated in Israel and gradually spread worldwide, micro irrigation has proven to be a technology which has the potential to change the face of Indian agriculture.
To achieve mass adoption of smart irrigation solutions and make micro irrigation available to all, the actions by the government should be accompanied by more aggressive promotions and simplifying the subsidy process for farmers.
Israeli water management technology to help Indian farmers
A well established leader in water management, desalination and recycling techniques, Israel has set a template for reusing wastewater for irrigation. It treats 80 per cent of its domestic wastewater, which is recycled for agricultural use and constitutes nearly 50 per cent of the total water used for agriculture. Drip irrigation is one of the most effective forms used by farmers in many developed nations to reduce water wastage. Here water is allowed to drip slowly to the roots of many different plants either onto the soil surface or directly on to the roots through a network of pipes and emitters.
According to Randhir Chauhan, Managing Director, Netafim India”Drip irrigation is probably the best possible way for optimum use of water as well as gives best returns per unit of water. The Indo-Israel relationship has certainly helped many companies to increase trade on both the sides.”
The collaboration with Israeli agricultural technologies helped in bringing the most advanced innovations to the India farmers at affordable prices by adopting the concept of Technology transfers leading to “Make in India” combined with extension support by Agronomists from Israel. According to Anil Jain, vice chairman & managing director, Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd.,”Israeli scientists and agronomists were enlisted for extension support in India for several crops. These specialists come with their vast practical experience in Israel and worldwide and educate the Indian farmers through seminars and field visits, which make it possible to have the new technologies adopted in Indian conditions efficiently.”
According to Maxim Pasik, Executive Chairman, Water- Gen in April 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed around 630 million people in the South East Asian countries, including India, use a faeces-contaminated drinking water source. “Worldwide, almost two billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio,” said Pasik. He further explains that the central government’s vision on cleanliness would ensure the people of India have the cleanest and safest drinking water.
Source: Economic Times