The project is part of a broad plan, led by the President, to boost economic cooperation between Israel and Vietnam.

 1000 Vietnamese farmers to study in Israel this summer


Illustration: Participants in MASHAV international course on enterprises in agricultural areas

(Communicated by the Office of the President of Israel)

The interministerial committee of the Ministries of Agriculture, Finance, the Interior and Foreign Affairs (MASHAV) announced that the number of participants from Vietnam in this summer’s agricultural training program will be tripled. The announcement comes in the wake of President Shimon Peres’ visit to Vietnam, as part of a broad plan, led by the President, to boost economic cooperation between Israel and Vietnam. Seven hundred trainees will join the 300 agricultural students in the basic initiative, bringing the number of Vietnamese agricultural trainees this coming summer to 1000.

As part of the project, trainees from several Asian countries (mainly Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam) will come to Israel for an eleven-month combined work-study program in the regional councils of Ramat Negev and the central Arava. The project does not require funding by either the Vietnamese or the Israeli governments – the only cost is the plane tickets, borne by the farmers, who will be paid a monthly minimal wage during the 11-month program.

Among the economic advantages of the program: the trainees will establish agricultural farms in their own countries, at a cost of tens of millions of dollars, using advanced Israeli technologies – greenhouses, drip irrigation equipment, seeds, etc. As a result of the increase in the scope of the program, investments of Israeli companies in Vietnam are expected to increase, and the strengthening of agricultural-economic ties will bring millions of dollars to the Israeli economy. From a political point of view, the program will strengthen ties between Israel and Vietnam, eager for advanced agricultural training, high-tech and innovation-based. From the aspect of public diplomacy, thousands of trainees over the years return to their countries as good-will ambassadors of Israel and its advanced technologies.

Shmuel Rifman, Council Mayor of the Ramat Negev Regional Council, welcomed the decision and stressed that the increased number of Vietnamese farmers is a fortuitous event for Negev and Arava farmers. It’s a win-win situation for all involved – the Israeli and Vietnamese governments, the students who return to Vietnam, the Negev farmers who get capable workers for the duration of the program, the State of Israel that gets loyal good-will ambassadors, and Israeli agriculture that enjoys a spreading reputation in the emerging markets of Asia.

The Director General of the President’s Office, Efrat Duvdevani, expressed satisfaction with the interministerial committee’s decision and said that the visit by President Peres to Vietnam opened many doors to strategic cooperation between the two states. She added that the President’s Office is working on a broad action plan to promote the countries’ common interests in a great many areas in addition to agriculture, especially in the fields of energy, infrastructures and security.