The Meghalaya Government in collaboration with Israel is setting up two centres of excellence in the state to boost up technological development in the Agriculture sector.
After holding a meeting with the representatives of Israel led by Ambassador Ron Malka, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said, “The first centre will be set up at Jongksha village in East Khasi Hils for vegetables while the second centre will be set up at Dawagre in East Garo Hills for citrus fruits.”
Talking about roping in technological development in the agriculture sector, Conrad said, “ This is very important for us because we strongly feel technology is very important for us in agriculture and horticulture.”
Calling this partnership a game-changer for people of the state as well as farmers, the Chief Minister said, “Because of lack of technology and lack of research we are not able to get maximum benefit and maximum profitability for our farmers.”
“ So we feel with the support and collaboration with Israel Govt which has been the leader in agriculture technology in the world this collaboration will go a long way in ensuring that we are able to help and enhance the productivity and overall earnings of all of our farmers in the State,” he added.
Asserting that the Government of India and the Government of Israel collaborated together to set up such centres for agriculture and horticulture in different parts of the country, including the Northeast. Sangma said, “The main objective of this discussion and dialogue is to put up centres of excellence in different parts of the state. The government of Israel along with the government of India has been putting up centres of excellence in horticulture and agriculture in different parts of the country. “
He further said, “In NE there are only two that have been set up, the objective is to now expanding this and cover more states of North East. So keeping that in mind we have put up our proposal to the Government of India to MIDH to put up two centers of excellence in our state. “
Regarding the financial implications of setting up the two centres, Sangma said that talks for setting up the centres are in the advanced stage with the Central Government.
“We hope that these proposals for setting up the Centre of Excellence will move forward after this discussion and dialogue with the Israel delegation. We are expecting to complete the entire process at the earliest,” Sangma said, adding that the Centre had a rough estimate of Rs 10 crore for setting up each Centre of Excellence.
Stating that Meghalaya passed the special milestone by becoming part of the family of states under the Indo-Israeli agriculture project, Dr. Ron Malka, Ambassador of Israel to India said, “As of now, there are 29 Centres of Excellence under this project all over India. In these centres, we bring our latest technology, practices, and an advanced system that we used for advanced agriculture and water management. We had a constructive discussion, and we are starting the process.”
Dr. Ron Malka said that there is immense potential in Meghalaya, and they are planning to help the farmers to bring added value chain and shape a competitive advantage of their agricultural produce. “This is the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of doubling the income of the farmers”, he said.
Malka also assured that the Centres of Excellence would become self-sufficient within two years, and would support themselves, even as he said, “We are also looking for a direct flight from the North East to Israel,” he said.
“We will create new kinds of crops and cultivation through the Centre of Excellence. We have seen that these centres become self-sufficient within two years based on the experience from the other Centres of Excellence in the country,” he said.
Agriculture Minister Banteidor Lyngdoh and Chief Secretary MS Rao besides others attended the meeting. EOM