Netafim Irrigation India Expanding Into Farming

Company may enter joint venture with Yes Bank, local gov't to grow vegetables in Uttaranchal

Netafim Irrigation India is expanding from selling drip-irrigation systems alone, to partnerships in agricultural concerns.

The Indian branch of the Israeli company, located in Vadodara, is in advanced negotiations with the Yes Bank of India and the government of Uttaranchal, a province in northern India, to set up a joint company.

This subsidiary would engage in agriculture for the local market and exports, said the manager of Netafim India, Zvi Feler.

Israel's ambassador to India, David Danieli, commented that the Foreign Ministry would participate in the project via Mashav, its division responsible for cultivating agricultural ties with third-world countries.

Netafim is considered to be the world's biggest supplier of water-conserving drip irrigation systems. It also provides training services on a range of agriculture-related subjects. If this northern India project comes about, it will be the first time that the company expands into actual farming, which would be considered vertical  growth for it.

Yes Bank owns 360 dunams of arable land in Uttaranchal, on which it means to grow vegetables and relatively dear crops. Representatives of the bank contacted Netafim about the project, hoping the Israeli-Indian firm will help train the farmers  and supply its irrigation technology. It is possible that Netafim will build and operate a permanent training center.

Feler said that people from Mashav should be coming to India for about a month a year, to update the Netafim team on the latest developments in agronomy.  The Netafim team would then train the local farmers and sales teams.

Netafim holds about 20% of India's market for drip-irrigation technology, second only to an Indian company that has a 35% market share. The Indian branch of Netafim has 450 employees.