Israel has offered to train some 360 Nepali students this year in advanced agricultural, according to the Embassy of Israel in Kathmandu.

The embassy had trained some 205 students last year, the embassy informed in a press meet here today. The students will be selected through lottery and interviews.

Speaking at the press meet, Israel ambassador to Nepal Hanan Goder-Goldberger said that such training will enhance performance of small farmers. “The trained students will contribute toward the development of agricultural sector in Nepal,” he said, adding that technology, skill and capital are key to farmers to boost agricultural production in Nepal. “The training will provide opportunity to meet these requirements to some extent.”

Small Farmers Development Bank (Sana Kisan Bikas Bank) has pledged financial support for the returnees to start their own agri-business.

“The bank aims at reducing poverty through agricultural development,” said, , chief executive officer of the bank Jalan Kumar Sharma, on the occasion.

“More people in the villages could be encouraged to take up commercial farming, if the returnees perform better,” he added.

The 205 students, who got the opportunity to visit Israel are scheduled to return between June and October this year. They will share their knowledge, ambassador Goder said, expecting that the returnees will also apply modern technology and skill in Nepal.

The selected students will receive training on production and study of flowers and vegetables.
Israel is known as a world-leader in employing modern technologies in agriculture despite its geography that is not naturally conducive to agriculture. More than half of the land area is desert, and the climate and lack of water resources do not favour agriculture. However, In Israel only three per cent of population is engaged in agriculture but they produce enough to feed the whole country of eight million people and export remaining agro products, which make up to 80 per cent of total output, to the rest of the world.

Nepal should also look for ways to increase agro production while reducing dependency on farming for employment. “An economy cannot sustain with 70 per cent of the population engaged in agriculture,” Godar said, adding that with large number of population involved in farming, the country can face severe shortage of other professionals like doctors, engineers and teachers.

In Nepal, agriculture contributes one third to the gross domestic product (GDP) but has employed around 68 per cent population.

Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (Mashav) also conducts somewhat similar training programmes in association with Agricultural Development Bank.

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