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Indo-Israel project to boost vegetable production

The Centre of Excellence for Vegetables, a Rs. 10.18-crore Indo-Israel project at Reddiyarchatram meant for offering sophisticated Israeli technology to farmers and augmenting vegetable production in the State, is ready for formal inauguration by June.

The centre, one of the seven centres dedicated to vegetable production in the country, houses three advanced poly greenhouses adopting fan-and-pad method with automation, shade nets, demonstration units for vegetables and hi-tech micro irrigation with fertigation facility and insect-proof nets.

Work on the office building, farmers’ training centre, seed bank and vegetable grading and packing centre is over, and the office room and training centre have started functioning. Cultivation of vegetables and fruits and seedlings in poly houses and in open demonstration plots is also on.

Now, the officials have been giving finishing touches to the poly greenhouses, each covering an area of 900 squre metres, built with 100% Israeli technology. They would be utilised to produce 50 lakh seedlings a year. Now, the centre produces several vegetables and fruits in a large scale. Musk melon is the recent addition to the centre.

Assistant Director of Horticulture (Indo-Israel Project) K. Srinivasan said the centre had been developed on 5.8 hectares of land. It had so far produced 65 lakh seedlings and trained 12,800 farmers.

Yield from a normal poly house would be around 54 tonnes against the 15 to 20 tonnes achieved in open field cultivation. In hi-tech poly house, yield could touch 200 tonnes. The centre had opened retail sales outlets at the centre, Collectorate and at the farmers’ market in Dindigul.

Israel had introduced several advanced technologies like raising beds, paired row planting, pro-tray seedlings, drip and fertigation method and white poly mulching. Now, the centre had introduced weed net technique to eliminate weed growth in the field. “Our aim is to train farmers in adopting proven Israeli agro technologies to boost vegetable production,” Mr. Srinivasan said.

Horticulture department officials said Embassy of Israel officials and Chief Minister Edappadi S. Palaniswamy were expected to inaugurate the centre.

Uri Rubinstein, then Israel Project Counsellor, International Agriculture and Cooperation from the Embassy of Israel, New Delhi, along with his team, had kick-started the work by planting hybrid variety chillies (US 344) at the centre on October 20, 2013.

The Indo-Israel project was formally launched by former Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on October 15, 2012.


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