Netafim wins $85m follow-on irrigation deal in India

Netafim

Irrigation communities enable farmers to benefit from advanced irrigation systems they could not otherwise afford.

Israeli precision irrigation solutions company Netafim has announced that it has won follow-up community irrigation projects in India in a deal estimated at $85 million dollars for providing advanced irrigation systems to 35,000 farmers.

The new deal is for three large projects in India, involving the construction of irrigation systems that follow the community irrigation model. "They are a testament to the successful collaboration between local farmers, the Government of Karnataka state in India and Netafim to improve the livelihood and quality of life of local communities, by employing advanced precision irrigation technologies and digital farming solutions," the company's announcement states.

The three projects cover 66 villages and 35,000 farmers on an area of 50,000 hectares (123,500 acres) in the state of Karnataka (Nandwadgi and Singatalur regions). The projects will be carried out over a period of two years and will include technical and agronomic support for a further five years. In these projects, Netafim joined forces with Indian Infrastructure company MEIL (Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited).

Netafim will also train the farmers to operate the advanced systems. A wide range of crops are planned for the area, among them onions, chili peppers, corn, peanuts, beans, and sunflowers.

These projects are an extension of the successful Ramthal community irrigation project in the state of Karnataka which was completed in 2017, and additional four projects in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh which were secured by Netafim in 2018 and which are now under implementation.

The collaboration between Netafim and government agencies binds farmers into "irrigation communities". Irrigation communities make it economically feasible to carry out comprehensive and large infrastructure projects. Each farmer benefits from an irrigation system that suits his needs and is based on the most advanced technology. Without this collaboration, the individual farmer would not possess the knowledge or financial resources to create his own effective irrigation system.

"The support and mentorship provided by Netafim for several years guarantees the success of the project," Netafim says. "This prevents the likelihood that at the end of the project farmers are unable to operate the systems and the investment goes down the drain."

"The uniqueness of these projects is in their community model, which along with local government involvement enables a huge number of farmers and villages to improve their livelihoods," said Netafim president and CEO Gaby Miodownik. "The Indian government has always been extremely supportive of the agricultural sector, and now more than ever this support is important for securing the economic stability of local farmers and food security in the country. These projects deploy NetBeat systems for digital farming which enables real-time control of the irrigation systems using cloud technologies and allows access from any mobile device. Netafim intends to expand the community irrigation project model to other countries characterized by a large number of small farmers."

Regional irrigation projects won by Netafim to date involve 202 villages in India and over 97,000 farmers over 100,000 hectares (247,105 acres). The transition to precision irrigation is expected to double agricultural output, improve its quality, and save about 40% in water and fertilizer consumption.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on August 10, 2020

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