Shillong, Nov 4 (PTI) If all goes well, Meghalaya, in collaboration with Israel, will set up two centres of excellence in the state, as part of a project between India and the Middle East country -- aimed at equipping farmers with technology to help increase their income.
Addressing a press meet here on Tuesday, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said Meghalaya has sought the support of the Union government and Israel for building the centres in two districts -- East Khasi Hills and East Garo Hills.
'We had sent proposal to the Centre seeking help to set up two centres of excellence -- at Jongsha in East Khasi Hills for vegetables and at Dawagre in East Garo Hills for citrus fruits,' Sangma said, following his dialogue here with Ambassador of Israel Dr Ron Malka and his team of experts.
Malka, who was also present at the press meet, said the project will be in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision to double farmers' income.
India is collaborating with Israel for an agriculture project, which aims to set up centres of excellence in various parts of the country for rapid transfer of technology to the farmers with the objective of increasing productivity and improving the quality of produce.
Maintaining that the proposal is at an 'advanced stage', Sangma said, 'We are hopeful that we will be able to complete the entire process very soon.' Asked about the estimated cost of the project, the chief minister said the two centres of excellence, to be funded by the Union government, is likely to incur an expenditure of Rs 10 crore each.
Asserting that the partnership with the Israel government will be a 'game-changer' for the state and its farmers, Sangma said technology plays a very important role in agriculture and horticulture.
'We feel that with the support of the Israel government, which has been a leader in the agriculture technology sector, this collaboration will go a long way in ensuring that Meghalaya is able to enhance productivity and overall earnings of its farmers,' the chief minister said.
Malka, on his part, said Israel would send its experts to Meghalaya to build a tailor-made programme for its farmers.
'We are going to bring the best experts and the best of technologies from Israel to build a tailor-made programme for advancing and sharing our practices with the farmers of Meghalaya,' he said.
With agriculture being the backbone of the Indian economy, Israel wants to share its achievements and developments as well as its mistakes to support the country, just as friends do, Malka stated.
'India's relation with Israel has been growing rapidly and steadily... In the future, we want to have direct flights to the Northeast as we want to expand the presence of Israel in the region,' he added. PTI JOP RMS RMS RMS RMS