KOLKATA: The state government on Thursday submitted a proposal for an India-Israel centre of excellence on vegetables after months of persuasion by Israeli embassy. The centre, to be built on a 2 acre plot in Adisaptagram in Hooghly, will use Israeli technology on productivity increase, adapt it to local conditions and develop replicable techniques for farmers in the state.
Speaking at an interactive session organized by CII, Israeli ambassador to India Alon Ushpiz said he had received the proposal from chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who also holds the agriculture portfolio, during a meeting at the state secretariat. The Bengal CM expressed interest in exporting rice and fruits to Israel.
"Agriculture cooperation is the strategic backbone of our relations. The focus of the proposed centre is to hike vegetable production in West Bengal,” he said. While three such centres have been set up in Maharashtra and one in Haryana, the diplomat hoped the centre in Bengal would come up by next year.
On his third visit to the city, Ushpiz toured the Jewish cemetery and was touched by the care. “There is a Jewish community here that was once big and flourishing. There is a depth of honour in the way Kolkata treated Jews, very different from how they were treated in other parts of the world.