New technology being used on a California farm greatly reduces the amount of water used in rice fields. New technology being used on a California farm greatly reduces the amount of water used in rice fields. Farmers can get more food with fewer chemicals. (Photo: Sittipong / Shutterstock)

How Indian farmers are doubling their crops

Learning about new technology was a game changer for this farming couple.

Godavari Bhinradia and her husband Hirji were having some problems. They were farmers in rural India, and water in their region was in short supply. That meant they couldn't manage to turn a profit on their crops.

"Our land is not favorable for crop cultivation," Hirji Bhinradia said. "We wanted some kind of technology that could make the land more cultivable."

They heard about the AgriTech Fair, an international fair in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, where world leaders, scientists, farmers and many others gather to discuss, among other things, the latest agricultural techniques. Israel has long been a leader in agriculture and water technologies.

The Bhinradias saved up for a few years so they could afford the trip, and they made their way to the fair in 2015. It must have been quite a major decision, and it paid off. They learned about some pretty advanced farming techniques, such as nethouses, which are sort of like greenhouses with insect-proof nets. Keeping insects out saves plants from being eaten and getting sick without chemicals.

"Many villagers in Gadhda and Sihor taluka of Botad have adopted the nethouse and greenhouse method of Israel. It protects trees in adverse climate like wind and cold. Simultaneously, it protects trees from diseases," Bhinradia said.

Since learning about the new techniques, the farmers have gathered together with about 100 other farmers in the area, where they exchange farming tips.

"We learned from Israeli farmers not to allow climbers to grow much," continued Bhinradia. "We experimented with their methods and it gave us better results. Doubled yield." Now they're growing chikku, dates, gooseberries, pears and watermelons on their farm.

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