Israel to help Gir mango farmers

The government has reached an in-principle agreement with the Israel government to start a horticulture centre at Talala of Gir, where experts from the West Asian country would periodically visit to train mango farmers how to scientifically cultivate the "king of fruits" as they have done at Dapoli, in Maharashtra's Konkan region, which is home to the Ratnagiri Hafoos mangos.

Israel's Consul-General in Mumbai Orna Sagiv said in an interview on Tuesday that the horticultural cluster project, which involves setting up of training centres, would also involve setting up similar clusters for vegetables nearby Ahmedabad and a centre for post-harvest management of dates and bananas in Kutch district.

Sagiv said her government hopes it can effect changes in Gir as in Dapoli, where farmers knew how to cultivate the fruit tree but had been reluctant to prune and trim them, leading to stagnant production.

Israeli agricultural scientists had demonstrated the benefits of trimming and pruning, thereby increasing productivity and farmers began to pick up the practice soon afterwards, she said, giving an example of the training shared.

Joint director of horticulture C M Patel confirmed that in-principle agreements have been reached for these clusters, although the exact location of the Kutch centre has not been finalised yet.

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