Ahmedabad: An Agriculture Centre of Excellence was inaugurated in Gujarat's Sabarkantha district on Sunday under the Indo-Israel Agriculture Cooperation Project for providing new technologies and opportunities to the farmers.

Inaugurated by Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and Israeli ambassador Daniel Carmon, the agriculture centre is the first to be inaugurated in the state and part of the second phase of the Indo-Israel Agriculture Cooperation project that includes setting up close to 30 Centres of Excellence in nine states across India, the Israeli embassy said in release.

“We inaugurate this centre at times when the relations between our two countries are growing and expanding rapidly. These relations are also translated to actual things," said Carmon on the occasion.

"....At the core of these centres, of this project, is something very simple. The seed of all of what we see here today is partnership and friendship. This is where it all begins.”

“When Prime Minister Modi visited Israel in 2006 as the chief minister of Gujarat he witnessed ... how far advanced methods and smart usage of resources can take you. He saw that it is possible to grow more with less,” the Israeli ambassador added.

Set up in Vadrad village, 115 km from Ahmedabad, the vegetable Centre of Excellence is one of the three expected centres in the state. It incorporates many different methods of protected cultivation.

It will provide Gujarati farmers a wide spectrum of new technologies and possibilities to learn and later adopt and use in their own fields to raise their produce and resource efficiency.

Gujarat's Agriculture Minister Mohanbhai Kundariya and Consul General of Israel in Mumbai David Akov were also present on the occasion.

The Indo-Israeli initiative was launched in 2008 and operates under the partnership of the department of horticulture in the ministry of agriculture and Mashav, Israel's agency for development and cooperation.

It aims at increasing farmers' yield and productivity while diversifying local crops in various regions across India and optimising resource efficiency of individual farmers by using advanced micro-irrigation systems and other adapted technologies.

The third phase of the Indo-Israel Agriculture Cooperation, expected to be launched soon, will include more states under the project.