Israel warns global milk paucity, urges India to act

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, January 21: | Updated: Jan 22 2008, 01:32am hrs
Israel predicted severe global shortage in milk production in the next three years and urged India to cooperate in resolving the emerging situation.

With a view to meet the likely challenges to be posed on account of global climate change Israel has offered to cooperate in areas of water management, micro-irrigation projects, sewage water recycling for use in agriculture and prevention of desertification.

The Israeli minister for agriculture, Shalom Simhon is in Delhi with a business delegation and is expected to meet the Union agriculture minister, Sharad Pawar on Tuesday to work out concrete plan of action.

"There may be milk shortage in the world for more than three years, if corrective action is not taken in time," said Simhon. Noting that India is the largest producer of milk in the world, he said: "both the countries need to work together to face the emerging challenge. Israel has improved technology for the dairy sector and our companies can invest in India."

He proposed genetic improvement of animals and application modern dairy equipment.

The Israeli delegation was on a visit to Rajasthan and found the climate there similar to that in Israel and hence a conducive place to begin their work. Israel would help India in replicating its experiences of olive and date plantation and also in other horticulture crops in desert areas. It would also share its technology of protected agriculture like poly and greenhouses. An agreement on cooperation between the two countries was signed by Pawar in May 2006 during his visit to Israel on the occasion of AgriTech Expo.

Simhon also suggested cooperation in R&D, particularly relating to post-harvest management and increasing shelf life of fruits and vegetables. Two-way trade and investment can play a vital role, he said and added that a free trade agreement between the two countries can boost the prospects further.