Israeli drip irrigation system set up in K’taka coffee estate

Bengaluru, Dec 9 (IANS) With the help of the Israeli Consulate, an Israeli drip irrigation system has been installed at a coffee estate in Karnataka’s Sakleshpur to increase productivity of beans, pepper and fruits, an official said on Wednesday.

“The advanced automated drip irrigation system of Israeli firm Netafim has been set up as a pilot project in St Anthony’s coffee estate near Sakaleshpur in Hassan district to increase crop yield and save water, energy and fertilisers,” Israel Consul General for south India Jonathan Zadka told IANS in a statement here.

Sakleshpur is about 220km west of Bengaluru.

Though Netafim’s Indian arm has been setting up its drip irrigation systems in farms for crops in the country over the last two decades, it is for the first time its system is being used in a coffee plantation, which is located in the hills.

The sprawling 225-acre coffee estate grows Arabica and Robusta varieties of coffee beans, pepper as an inter-crop and fruits.

Estate manager Leo D’Souza told IANS that the company had invested about Rs 10 lakh in installing the system for irrigation in a 5-acre area on a pilot basis.

“We will scale the system to irrigate more area after assessing its benefit in terms of yield and saving water and energy,” he said.

Coffee growers from neighbouring plantations were also given a demonstration on the irrigation system works during its launch on Monday at the estate.

“The smart system will manage proper usage of water and fertilisers to increase productivity per acre,” said Zadka.

The Coonoor-based United Planters’ Association of India (Upasi), an apex body of the plantation commodity growers, also partnered with Netafim in setting up the pilot project.

“We have engaged with local growers and planters, exploring the application of Israeli agriculture technology in new fields,” added Zadka.

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