Israel to set up three centres of excellence in State

Consul office likely to be opened in Bangalore by September

Israel plans to open three centres of excellence in fruits and vegetables in the State.

While a centre of excellence in mango will be set up in Kolar, Belgaum and Bagalkot will have centres for vegetables and pomegranate, respectively. 

This was announced by Orna Sagiv, the Consul General of Israel, during her visit to the city on Tuesday. 

Sagiv told Deccan Herald that talks in this regard with the Ministry of Horticulture were underway. The centres will start yielding results in two years, she said. 

There are already five Israeli centres of excellence in India - two in Haryana and three in Maharashtra, she said.

She added that using advanced Israeli technologies had helped get better yield. As an example, she said that cutting the branches of a tree in a particular way (so that sunrays fall on its roots) can produce a better yield of fruits. She said nearly 50 per cent of agri products were ‘lost’ or their quality was ‘lost’ while transferring them from gardens to markets in India.

Sagiv explained how Israel recycled 85 per cent of its water using advanced technology. The Consul General hoped that a full-fledged Consul office would be operational in Bangalore by September.

The new consulate will serve Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Hitherto, the consulate in Mumbai catered for Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This is in addition to the full diplomatic and consular establishment in New Delhi. 

“Though there are many opportunities in India, Israel will concentrate on information technology, telecom and agriculture sectors,” she said. Information technology will comprise cyber security, cloud computing and IT financial solutions. Sagiv said Infosys was the first Indian company to sign an agreement with the chief scientist of Israel for the transfer of technology, though many MNCs from the US and Europe had entered into agreements with Israel.

Israel also plans to sponsor 100 PhD and post-PhD students. It also plans joint R&D in universities. Accordingly, each country will have to pool in $15 million for three years ($ 5 million a year). “The higher education departments of both countries (India and Israel) have agreed upon the plan and financial aspects have been approved too,” she said.

Tourism

About 40,000 Israelis visited India and an equal number of Indians have visited Israel in 2011. India was the largest tourism source from Asia for Israel, she said, adding her country had decided to open an exclusive tourism office in Mumbai. There are one lakh Israelis of Indian origin, she added. 

Plans are on the anvil to start a chartered flight from Goa to Tel Aviv (Israeli capital) as there are direct flights to Israel from only Mumbai. 

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