The centre is being set up in collaboration with the Israel government at the cost of Rs 6 crore at Ghrounda in Karnal. It will spread over 15 acres and will be formally launched by the January end next year. We are informing farmers about the latest techniques of protected cultivation that can improve productivity by 8-10 times as compared to open cultivation methods. About 40-50 farmers are visiting centre everyday, joint director horticulture Arjun Singh Saini told FE.
He added, Seedling production has started in the hi-tech nursery with a capacity of 5.80 lakh seedlings for a cycle of 3-4 weeks. Seedlings are also being given to the farmers at a cost of 80 paise to Rs 1.20. Production of tomato, cucumber, capsicum, watermelon and chillies is being undertaken in the nursery. Demonstration of crops is done under naturally ventilated polyhouse, insect net house and walk-in tunnel. Further, the department is exploring tie ups with private companies for post-harvest methods demonstrations as well as marketing activities.
The micro-irrigation automation system as well as water management system is in place and the administration building and roads are under construction. Experts from Israel visit the centre every fortnight and advise the farmers about watering, nutrition, protection, etc. We have also framed the module for imparting training, which is likely to begin February onwards. There would be on site and weekly training for the farmers, added Saini.
A centre of excellence for fruits is also being developed in collaboration with Israel at Mangiana in Sirsa district at a cost of Rs 9.7 crore. It will be spread over 50 acres where all the processes from seed sowing to post harvest management will be taken up under different climatic conditions. The hi-tech nursery is also ready and so are the insect net houses and water ponds, informed Saini.