Jul. 1, 2019
Israeli government made a four-day event called Agrisrael 4.0, from Monday until Thursday, for international enterprises looking for cutting edge technologies of the future agriculture industry.
The purpose of the convention was to attract big global companies to invest and cooperate with Israeli companies which are usually much smaller and eager to enter the global market to scale up its production.
Airbus, Pepsico, Actura, Dole, IFC-world bank, STMicroelectronics, Mitsubishi and about 150 additional senior representatives from the global agricultural industry came to the event.
Those international corporations have held business meetings with more than 100 Israeli companies to promote cooperation and check possible buying or selling of advanced technologies.
Noa Isralowitz, acting manager of agro-technology sector at Israel Export Institute, told Xinhua the purpose of the event was "to expose the Israeli technologies to international key leaders."
The vast majority of participating in the event were looking for IoT sensors, robotics and software solutions. "All in the purpose of tackling the biggest challenge the world is facing, to reduce costs and improve yield," told Isralowitz.
Many of Israel's companies focused recently on providing advanced solutions to tackle urgent global challenges of agriculture what brings a lot of attention across the world.
Over 500 Israeli startups and companies are working in the field of agriculture, and more than 670 million U.S. dollars are invested in Israeli Agritech, according to figures Isralowitz provided to Xinhua.
Daniel Sayag, head of sales in Israel at global giant Airbus DS said in an interview with Xinhua that Airbus is looking forward to co-operating with Israeli small companies and integrating their technologies.
According to Sayag, Airbus is a leading global company in providing satellite images with high resolution up to 50 centimeters that could be used by the agriculture industry.
Satellite vision could help farmers identify which of their crops needs irrigation, pesticides or fertilizers. Israeli start-ups could use those images and provide advanced products with unique algorithms.
The event was initiated by Israel Export Institute jointly with Ministries of Agriculture, Economy, and Foreign Affairs in order to display the Israeli agritech ecosystem in one place.
It showcased the young startup companies' technologies implemented in the field live demonstrations. Some international guests already expressed their interest in cooperation with Israeli companies.
"We are getting feedback from international guests and Israeli companies about pilot agreements, and we are hoping to see further collaboration with Israeli companies in the near future," told Isralowitz.
As in many other fields of high tech, Israel takes a world-leading position by combined efforts of local startups, big companies, universities, governmental entities, and even security forces, especially the army joining hands altogether.
Dr. Michal Levy, senior deputy director-general of agricultural innovation department at the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture, told Xinhua that "the Israeli Agtech working in a multi-disciplinary environment."
Levy emphasized the sensors, remote sensing, and robotics as leading Israeli technologies in the agritech sector. One of the challenges is to create sustainable agriculture.
We need to save water, to use fewer chemicals and practice precision methods. This way, we will grow more with less, said Levy.
"Climate change will affect agriculture dramatically," Levy stressed. Another challenge according to her is to find better solutions for the post-harvest and increase shelf life of the food products.
Gilad Peled, director of agro-technology, water and cleantech department at Israel Export Institute, said in an interview with Xinhua that we are witnessing now the fourth agriculture revolution.
Nowadays it is a digital revolution, the farmers can now control the yields digitally and grow more products with lower investments, and are able to be much more accurate about water, pesticides, and fertilizers usage.
With the new remote sensor control, agriculture industry irrigates and feeds the corps with the exact amounts needed of ingredients and pesticides, with that practice there is a major resource saving.
"Automation will be the next fifth revolution," Peled told Xinhua. Big data, advanced computers, and artificial intelligence will analyze all the data.
Smart algorithms will automatically send tractors and drones to spread ingredients needed to crop according to sensing and calculations, and "no human involvement will be needed in the fifth revolution of agriculture," said Peled.
The first agriculture revolution was mechanical with moving to machines instead of human hands in the picking of crops and the use of tractors instead of horses, said Peled.
The second revolution was crop protection, 70 percent have been lost before the beginning of intensive use of chemical pesticides, maybe not healthy but efficient in killing insects and pests.
The third one was in moving from family agriculture to intensive agriculture, combining forces allowed families to scale up their capabilities, so agriculture became more productive and less costly.
According to inner report, Levy prepared for the use of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture, increased regulation on the use of chemicals and consumer awareness of health will lead to high demand for biological products.
Over time, the biological materials will become the leading ingredient in the farmer's spraying program, and not just a niche or a supplement. Biological materials are important to have sustainable agriculture.
Pests often do not develop resistance to biological agents, so in combination with traditional chemistry, they can slow down or stop the process of resistance developing to the pest, according to the report.