India’s latest agricultural reform laws will empower farmers and give them more options to sell their produce and earn maximum profits, said Israeli envoy to India Ron Malka, citing the experience of his country.
He said Indian farmers would see the real benefits of these reform measures once “the dust settles”.
Claiming that collaboration in the agricultural sector is one of the main “glues” that bind the Indo-Israel partnership, Malka said the new agricultural laws may deepen the ties further, as India can adopt Israeli technology. use of digital platforms to connect farmers directly with consumers. .
In an interview with PTI, the Israeli ambassador said that the efficiency of the agricultural sector as a whole will increase with the new laws and consumers will also benefit from better and fresh harvests.
“In Israel there is no middleman. There is full transparency and farmers are connected to customers. It works very effectively with very advanced digital platforms,” Malka said.
“Once the Indian market is open and every farmer can sell to whomever they want … they can adopt these platforms (developed by Israel) making the necessary adjustments to local market conditions,” he said. he declares.
In the first phase this type of system gives farmers the opportunity to get what they deserve and in the second phase it becomes a very efficient and powerful planning tool that helps in the coordination of supply and supply. request, said Mr. Malka.
Asked about his views on how these laws can empower farmers in India, the Israeli envoy said: “Yes, I believe (these measures will help farmers). The efficiency of the agricultural sector as a whole ( will increase). Consumers are also going to enjoy better harvests. “
Asked about the fears raised by part of the population that the new agricultural laws would reduce the bargaining power of farmers vis-à-vis companies, he replied: “I don’t think that would be the case”.
Mr Malka said farmers still probably do not have the right know-how to adapt to the new system and will face some problems initially, but in the long run when the “dust settles” it will will make the system more efficient and effective. will bring many more options and opportunities to farmers.
The reforms will ultimately make the system more efficient and profitable for farmers, the Israeli envoy said.
Mr. Malka cited Israel’s experience for his assertions.
“It will take some time to make some adjustments as the current system has been in place for a long time, but once the dust settles and we get a new balance, it will be in the best interests of farmers, customers and of course. the whole Indian economy, ”he said.
The three agricultural bills – the Agricultural Trade and Trade (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill 2020, the Agreement on Price Assurance and Farmers’ Agricultural Services (Empowerment and Protection), 2020 and the Essential Products (Amendment) Bill, 2020 – were recently passed by Parliament. President Ram Nath Kovind subsequently gave his assent to the bills.
Congress, many other opposition parties and several peasant organizations protested against the laws, claiming that they would harm the interests of farmers and benefit businesses, a claim rejected by the government.
The Center said the new laws will benefit farmers and increase their income.
Noting that agriculture is “the backbone of the Indian economy”, Malka said there is immense potential for collaboration between the two countries in this sector.
“Our most successful collaboration in agriculture is with India. We now have 29 centers of excellence in agriculture operating across India. In one year, 1,47,000 farmers were trained in these centers. of Indo-Israeli excellence, ”he said.
These centers of excellence showcase the most advanced Israeli technologies and practices in agriculture, he said.
“We will expand these centers of excellence to ‘areas of excellence’. As a concept, 55 to 60 villages around each center of excellence will be used to extend the know-how, knowledge, systems and practices that we bring to them. And also to add our water-related technologies, ”he said.
Millions of farmers in India have learned about Israeli technology and their lives have become much easier because of it, he noted.
“… In Israel, we have so many advanced digital platforms to connect farmers and consumers. We work on all value chains,” he said while saying that these technologies can be of value. of great use to farmers in India now, as would the markets. open up for them and they would get what they really deserve.
Explaining the online platforms that have connected farmers and consumers directly in Israel, Malka said that if one wanted to order cucumbers and tomatoes for salad, for example, the person could go to the Internet and order directly. the same.
He said Israeli farmers were getting the best price for their produce without middlemen hitching a cut.
Mr Malka said that this type of system and technology could be adopted by India after some adjustments and that he can take it directly from Israel rather than inventing such platforms.
Such online platforms would also help to understand the market as well as demand and supply, which in turn would help to plan and do farming much more efficiently, he said.
“You can even recommend to farmers what to grow and when to grow and you can assure them a minimum price because you understand the market,” he said.
So, farmers can be told to opt for tomatoes instead of cucumber next year, after considering market demand, the Israeli envoy said.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu reviewed the two countries’ initiatives in a multitude of sectors, including agriculture, water and innovation.