The Jewish festival of Shavuot (Pentacost) celebrates Israel’s wheat harvest and the source of the prosperity it generates. Israel’s agricultural technology is bringing prosperity to those nations willing to recognize the true benevolent nature of the Jewish State.
By: Michael Ordman
The theme of Expo 2015, which opened in Milan Italy on May 1st, is “feeding the planet”. Already 22,000 have visited the Israel Pavilion and marveled at its 70-meter wall where crops grow vertically on minimal irrigation. One week previously, 35,000 (including 200 Gaza farmers) attended Agritech 2015 in Tel Aviv where Israel’s Netafim installed the biggest agricultural wall in Israel. Netafim’s drip-irrigation technology is currently growing crops that feed over a billion people.
Also on display at AgriTech was a new technique developed by Hebrew University researchers that extends the life of vegetables for weeks without refrigeration. In parallel to AgriTech, AgriVest 2015 at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot showcased the top Israeli agri-tech startups. It featured a competition, won by Israel’s DouxMatok for its development of sweeter sugar that reduces the amount of sugar required in foods.
One prominent visitor to Agritech was Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of India’s Maharashtra state. Mahasashtra is the second most populous sub-national entity in the world, with Mumbai as its capital. Fadnavis sees Israel’s agriculture technology as key to stemming the appalling suicide rate, due to poverty, of farmers in Maharashtra. Staying with India, it is working with Israeli companies to import Israeli grafting technology in order to improve crop yields and pest resistance whilst reducing water usage and the indiscriminate use of fertilizers.
We now cross over to Africa to hear the Tanzania-Israel Business and Investment Forum (TIBIF) 2015 in Dar es Salaam discuss agribusiness and the use of Israel’s scientific and technological innovations for the economic development of Tanzania. 1000 miles to the south, Israeli startup Platfarm is running a pilot in Zimbabwe of its platform for farmers in developing countries to improve their production and delivery to buyers.
Back home in Israel, technology is helping to maintain the high quality of Israeli agricultural exports. While most exporters perform only random checks on their produce, Israeli fruit exporter Eshet Eilon inspects every piece of fruit for quality and ripeness. It uses spectral imaging at a rate of five tons an hour and rejects anything that contains disease or fungus. Meanwhile, Israel’s Pointer Software Systems has developed Pickapp, which provides farm managers with real-time tracking of the progress of harvesting and the quality of the produce harvested.
Israeli farms don’t just produce crops; they also include fish farms, such as those built by Israel’s LivinGreen. During the past year, LivinGreen led an educational project in Ghana, building fish farms from local materials. LivinGreen also participated in projects in Ethiopia and China.
It is also traditional to consume dairy products during the Shavuot festival. So it is timely that Israel’s Ministry of Agriculture has just released the latest figures regarding Israel’s milk production. Despite a 21% drop in the number of dairy farms since 2005, milk production has increased by 59%. Milk yield per cow in Israel is the highest in the world.
So I hope you enjoy this video of how Israeli agricultural produce (grapes, tomatoes, wheat, olives, fish, milk, dates and pomegranates) is transformed “from field to fork” into a healthy and tasty culinary experience.
Israeli companies are already heavily involved in futuristic agricultural innovations. Take for example Melodea and Valentis, who demonstrated their technology at Imaginenano 2015 in Bilbau Spain, Europe’s largest nanotechnology conference. Both are using cellulose nanocrystals to make a variety of groundbreaking products out of plant-derived waste. And Israel’s White Innovations are just one year away from launching the Genie – a 3D printer that “prints” nutritious cooked meals.
Finally, the story has just emerged about how Israel prevented a major terrorist attack during the summer conflict with Hamas. A Hamas terrorist cell planned to use a wheat field to camouflage the exit hole from their tunnel into Israel. However, some religious Jews from Bnei Brak purchased the wheat just a few days prior to the planned attack. The Jews wanted to make “Shmura” (guarded) Matzo for Passover and had to harvest it quickly. When the terrorist cell emerged into the now barren field, they were easily spotted by the IDF, who dealt swiftly and decisively with the threat.
Keep rooting for Israel and reap the rewards.
Michael Ordman writes a free weekly newsletter containing positive news stories about Israel.
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