Israeli irrigation technology developer Netafim has been selected to construct four large community irrigation projects in India, connecting almost 60,000 farmers in over 100 towns to advanced agricultural technology and providing water to 135,000 acres (54,000 hectares) of land.
The project, worth in excess of $100 million, will improve infrastructure in agricultural communities in the southern Indian states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
In Singataluru, Netafim will manage two projects covering 41 villages, assisting approximately 15,000 farmers. The Ananthapuramu project covers 22 villages and 13,000 farmers. Finally, the Tarikere project will benefit 45 villages, home to approximately 27,000 farmers.
Known for pioneering drip irrigation technology since its establishment at Kibbutz Hatzerim in 1965, Netafim remains a global leader in precision irrigation worldwide.
To date, it has provided millions of farmers in over 110 countries with innovative solutions for irrigation and fertigation – fertilization via an irrigation system – through the company’s 29 subsidiaries and 17 manufacturing plants.
“India is a key market for Netafim in fulfillment of its commitment to help the world to grow more with less,” said Netafim president and CEO Ran Maidan.
“The community irrigation model is enabling us, together with local governments, to impact the livelihood of thousands of farmers with our most advanced precision irrigation and digital farming solutions.”
Using technology that delivers water and nutrients directly to the plant’s roots rather than the soil, the company estimates water savings of approximately 40%, combined with significantly higher yield. The system will also enable farmers to consume 40% less fertilizer to grow their crops.
“The government decided to move to drip irrigation where consumption of water is less,” said Anjum Parwez, Senior Indian Administrative Service officer in Karnataka, India.
“And Netafim came at that point of time with the whole concept and helps us accomplish our goal.”
The selection of Netafim to construct the community irrigation systems follows its successful implementation of a similar drip irrigation project in Karnataka’s Ramthal, delivering precision irrigation technology to 7,000 farmers in 28 villages.
The company works with Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering & Infrastructures Ltd. to deliver all of the community projects.In August 2017, Mexican petrochemicals giant Mexichem acquired 80% of Netafim in a deal worth approximately $1.5b. Kibbutz Hatzerim owns the remaining 20% of the company.
As part of the deal, the parties agreed to maintain Netafim’s core operations in Israel for at least two decades, including its production facilities and research activity.
In addition to precision irrigation, the company is now also developing digital farming, real-time crop monitoring, analysis and automated control technologies.