Israel is largely a desert nation – indeed, the Negev Desert alone covers 60% of the country. That is why Israel has been forced to become an agricultural technology powerhouse: out of sheer necessity. From advanced irrigation methods to biotechnology to farming machinery and robotics, Israel is a hub of agritech innovation – and tens of thousands of visitors enjoyed a first-hand glimpse at some of the latest and most innovative developments at the Start-Up Nation’s Agritech 2018 conference from May 8-10.
Held at the Israel Trade Fairs and Convention Center in Tel Aviv, the event was the 20th such conference in Israel. With the theme “Agriculture in arid and semi-arid regions,” this year’s event offered a global look at the challenges and solutions facing regions parched for water. Tens of thousands of international and local attendees – policymakers, NGO officials, researchers, business leaders, environmentalists, farmers and technologists – convened to discuss the role of agricultural technology in addressing challenges like climate change, extreme weather events, water deficiency, food security and desertification.
With the world population projected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050, the urgency of these issues is unmistakable. Israel stands as a beacon of how innovators can harness technology to tackle big problems and feed growing populations. Israeli entrepreneurialism, out of the box thinking and multidisciplinary approaches have spawned a wide array of solutions, such as analytics-driven smart farming technologies, environmentally friendly crop protection, super-efficient irrigation methods, and biotechnology-enhanced plant growth.
There are more than 400 Israeli agritech startups in all. In 2017, $185 million was poured into these startups – from a company that grows mushrooms to feed crops to startups producing a new generation of plant-based proteins. A look at just a few of the Israeli exhibitors at Agritech 2018 shows the country’s ingenuity in practice:
- Compost Or Ltd. builds and manages waste recycling facilities in Israel and abroad, with one of the largest compost factories in the world. Through a fully automated process, composts are produced under the supervision of a factory manager and an agronomist. Samples are quality-tested and put to use in the fields.
- Having introduced the world’s first-ever drip irrigation solutions in 1965, Netafim is a pioneer in irrigation technology, focusing on smart drip and micro-irrigation solutions with a heavy emphasis on sustainability. Netafim products are helping significantly increase crop yield the world over.
- Origene Seeds produces high-yield, sustainable hybrid vegetables using state-of-the-art biotechnology tools. It supplies markets globally, with sales in more than 25 countries.
- TAP -Teshuva Agricultural Projects is a commercial microgreenery business, with farms throughout the world. The TAPKit, a a 500m2 self-assemble hydroponic system that comes complete with everything needed to setup and grow fresh herbs and leafy green vegetables, made its first sale at Agritech 2018.
Borne of a need for national self-sufficiency, Israel’s agritech innovations are now benefiting agriculture throughout the world. In Africa for example, Israeli drip irrigation and crop-growing technologies are proving particularly transformative, helping combat poverty and hunger.
Agritech 2018 not only facilitated networking opportunities and in-depth discussions of agritech solutions, but also drove home for attendees the inspiring potential of continued innovation in the field.
For more information, please visit http://www.itrade.gov.il/ or contact your local Israel Economic Attaché.