Indian agricultural powerhouse Jain Irrigation Systems signed an agreement on
Monday morning with Kibbutz Na’an to purchase the remaining 50 percent of their
jointly owned firm NaanDan Jain, a move that both view as a symbol of
ever-expanding Indian- Israeli relations.
Jain Irrigation became a joint
owner of the original NaanDan irrigation firm in 2007, with a call option to
acquire the second half of the company when both sides saw fit. During the past
five years of Jain Irrigation’s participation in the company, NaanDan Jain has
increased more than 25% of its sales turnover, and more than NIS 125 million has
been invested in the Israeli firm’s drip irrigation and sprinkler technology –
marketed worldwide, according to the companies. The successful cooperation is a
testament to the growing rapport between India and Israel, which are now marking
20 years of diplomatic relations.
“Sharing the love of the land is good,”
Anil Jain, managing director of Jain Irrigation, told The Jerusalem Post during
an interview in Tel Aviv on Monday.
“People have that hands-on feel about
agriculture in both Israel and India, a willingness to work hard because you are
surrounded with a lot of difficulties and a willingness to use
“Both countries consider agriculture very important part of
their economies,” he added.
While Jain Irrigation predominantly serves
small farmers in India, NaanDan Jain has a much farther-reaching market
internationally, and serves the sprinkler irrigation market in addition to drip
irrigation needs, according to Jain.
“Israel has been a birthplace for
water irrigation technologies. Not only a birthplace – it has been ahead of the
curve,” Jain said.
While much of northwest India shares Israel’s
semi-arid climate, irrigation solutions for the two places are not exactly the
same, particularly the size of farms themselves. India has the largest number of
small farmers in the world – around 120 million – with about 1 hectare (2.47
acres) of land each, according to Jain. Thus far, Jain Irrigation has served
about 3 million of them.
Jain will be bringing hundreds of those farmers
to the AgriTech Exhibition taking place in Tel Aviv from Tuesday through
Thursday, where NaanDan Jain will be exhibiting many of its products – in
sprinkler irrigation, micro-irrigation, agricultural climate control, drip
irrigation and bio-energy.
“We are trying to create the best practices in
agriculture that will save resources on the input side and create best product
for the farmer,” Jain said.
The company has been cultivating a culture of
sustainable farming, with activities such as bringing in solar water pumps to
irrigate many of these farms. Slowly, the farmers themselves are adapting to a
culture of more environmental awareness, according to Jain.
NaanDan Jain already has an international presence, Jain said he hopes to expand
it much further, particularly in Latin American, China, Africa and the
Commonwealth of Independent States.
While he is contractually bound to
maintain the company’s Israel operations at Kibbutz Na’an through the year 2020,
Jain said he intends to continue the Israel base far after that
“Israel has the best research and development in this field.
The Israeli brand is a great brand around the world in terms of agricultural
technologies,” he said, noting that the farmers are both knowledgeable and
willing to be on the ground, in the field at all hours. “We will invest in
Israel and grow in Israel,” he added.
Jain described his relationship
with the kibbutz members as “extraordinarily good,” and said that kibbutz
executives contacted his company six months ago requesting that they exercise
the call option. With a business model quite similar to that of a kibbutz, his
company also intends to keep the NaanDan Jain Israeli work force completely
Jain’s religion, Jainism, represents only 0.5% of India’s
population, but it influences every move of his company, which represents 60% of
Rooted in ideals of non-violence, Jainism emphasizes
the importance of leaving the world a better place and allowing “every other
organism live – it does not stop with human beings,” according to Jain.