Tata Trusts-TAU Innovation Villages
Harnessing the power of Israeli innovation to increase India's smallholder farmers' income
In 2017, Tata Trusts and Tel Aviv University (TAU) joined forces to increase India’s smallholder farmers’ net income through the diffusion of Israeli technologies and innovations in agriculture.
Through a network of local innovation hubs - the “Indo-Israeli Innovation Villages” (IIVs) - initially in Andhra Pradesh and in the future throughout India, Tata Trusts and TAU aim to provide a platform for innovative Israeli agricultural technologies to pilot in real field conditions and adapt to the local needs and context, until ripe for large-scale roll-out.
The IIVs model stresses ground-based, data-driven experimentation, and relies on the involvement of Israeli Fellows (outstanding and pioneering graduate students from some of the most prestigious programs of TAU) who are immersed in the field for prolonged periods of time and are bridging between the Israeli startups and the ground reality. Guided by experienced faculty and technical experts, the Fellows develop a deep, data-based understanding of the needs of local farmers; plan & manage the pilots; implement a rigorous, data-driven monitoring and evaluation process; develop and test business models for technologies successfully tested in the previous cycle. Every technology is accompanied throughout the entire process until its social and commercial merit is proven in the field.
To date, two expeditions of agronomic experts have visited the field; training was provided to a dozen local extension agents; and two cohorts of outstanding and pioneering TAU students from some of the most prestigious programs of the university have already successfully completed a NITSAN Fellowship in India, where they helped create a data-driven monitoring platform and piloted several technologies, including five Israeli agtech companies in the field.