Encouraged by the overwhelming response to the Indo-Israel Centre for Excellence in Vegetables at Gharaunda near Karnal,Haryana government has decided to open 12 more such regional centres of excellence in the state,all in different districts.
Of these,11 centres will be opened on land owned by farmers. Haryana Director General Horticulture,Dr Satyavir Singh,said that the government will bear 75 per cent of the expenditure,while 25 per cent expenditure will be borne by the farmer. Some of the districts which have been identified for these projects are Sonepat,Rohtak,Palwal,Mewat,Bhiwani,Hisar,Fatehabad,Sirsa and Jind.
All these centres will demonstrate advanced farm technologies of Israel to maximise cultivation and achieve quality production of vegetables. These include high-tech greenhouses and protected modes of cultivation like net houses,polyhouses and walk-in tunnels.
Each of the 11 centres will be opened on three acres of land,with an investment of Rs 25 lakh. The farmers who own the land will be free to sell the seedlings grown in the high-tech greenhouse here. The 12th centre will be wholly owned by the state. It is likely to be opened in Gurgaon to cater to the demand among farmers in Rewari,Mahendragarh and other adjoining areas.
Dr Avri Bar Zur,Counsellor,International Cooperation-Science and Agriculture,of Israel said the success of the Gharaunda centre is evident from the keen interest shown by farmers. Farmers who open the regional centres on their farms will be given assistance and guidance by the Israeli experts. Successful implementation of these new technologies by farmers is a very major stage of the project for us, he said.
The Gharaunda centre,the first of its kind in the country,opened just over two months ago. Almost 80 to 100 farmers visit the centre daily not just from Haryana,but also Punjab,Jammu and Kashmir,Rajasthan,Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
Even with the production of three lakh seedlings a month,the high-tech greenhouse at the Gharaunda centre cannot meet the demand for the whole-root seedlings available here. Project Officer at the Centre,Dr Satyender Yadav,said that there is a shortfall of more than 50 per cent of seedlings as compared to the demand among farmers.
Large groups of farmers come here daily to see the technologies demonstrated here. They have never seen such high production on a single plant. Their queries usually are on the maximum production they can get from a plant in protected cultivation,how much will they have to invest,where will they market it,and how soon will they recover their investment, he said.
Rajesh Kumar,a farmer in Matour village in Kaithal district,said he had purchased whole-root seedlings of ghia from the Gharaunda centre. I got fruit on the plant within 35 days of planting it,as compared to about two months on the normal seedlings, he said.