India and Israel have agreed to further enhance cooperation in the agricultural sector

Nearly 150 villages across India will be converted into Villages of Excellence with technical assistance from Israel.

Out of these, 75 villages are being taken up in the first year to commemorate the 75th year of India's independence where India and Israel will work together, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar said on Friday.

The issue was discussed when Israeli Ambassador to India Naor Gilon called on the Union Minister.

These villages will come up around the 29 Centres of Excellence which have been developed with Israeli assistance in 12 states, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer's Welfare said after the meeting.

During the meeting, the Israeli Ambassador also showed interest in further collaboration with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and making available the latest technologies available with Israel.

Expressing satisfaction at the functioning of the Centres of Excellence (CoEs), Tomar said these are producing more than 25 million vegetable plants, over 387 thousand quality fruit plants and can train more than 1.2 lakh farmers per year.

Stating that these centres were a great example of cooperation between the two countries, Gilon proposed the certification of CoEs to further enhance the standards and quality of services being provided to the farmers. He also invited Union Minister Tomar to visit Israel.

According to the ministry, Tomar appreciated the Ambassador's proposals and agreed to work on them.

These Centers of Excellence have been established under Indo-Israel Agriculture Action Plan (IIAP).

The Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare of India, and MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation – are leading Israel’s largest G2G cooperation, implementing Advanced-Intensive agriculture farms with Israeli Agro-Technology tailored to local conditions.