Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022
Outlook.com
Rajasthan: agriculture

A Zest For Zeytoons

Israel-assisted olive plantations could change Rajasthan's desert landscape

A Zest For Zeytoons
A Zest For Zeytoons
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

None of them, however, has seen an olive before. "We are growing oil," says a young Basbisna villager vaguely, while site supervisor Ram Lal Yadav, a PhD from the Rajasthan Agricultural University, grins as he confesses, "I've never eaten an olive or used olive oil". All that the 20 men and women who work on the field know is that this is a new crop and provides regular paid work. That is the sum of their knowledge.

The Rajasthan government is hoping this will soon change and olive trees, which need comparatively little water and can grow on sandy soil, will become a good new source of income for its farmers and spur the greening of the state. The project, a personal brainchild of CM Vasundhararaje, originated with her visit to Israel in May '06 with an Indian delegation interested in Israeli agricultural experiments. At the Ravivim kibbutz in the Negev desert, Raje was struck by the sight of a 400-hectare field of olive trees, growing in sandy soil that seemed so similar to Rajasthan's and immediately asked if such a project could be replicated in her state.

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