African, Asian Students Studying Agriculture Abroad in Israel

The Israeli desert isn’t just sprouting some unprecedented produce in the miracle soil across its plains; it’s growing some of the finest agriculturists and agronomists this generation has ever seen. In an attempt to spread the important knowledge that Israeli agro-technicians have discovered, AICAT is opening its doors to students from all over Africa and Asia, providing the kind of education that these kids could never get back home.

Stimulating the Minds of the Next Generation

The Arava International Center for Agricultural Training (AICAT) has developed a forward-thinking work-study program that allows undergraduates from Asia and Africa to come learn the basic principles of agriculture. They are teaching young minds how Israelis have used technology, biochemistry, and other sciences to enhance the productivity and output of these agricultural basic building blocks. To date, more than 10,000 students have gained from this initiative, and more keep coming each year.

The program was started with a simple mission: get the right information into the minds of people living in underdeveloped regions and provide effective help to the 25% of the world’s population that lives in poverty. The program matches farmers as mentors to the students for the year, and they are taken through the entire process from start to finish.

AICAT is located in Sapir, in the heart of a desert region known as the Arava Desert. Students hail from Indonesia, Nepal, South Sudan, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Laos, and East Timor, to name but a few.

Educating from A-to-Z

In an interview with ISRAEL21c, AICAT director Hanni Arnon playfully said “They come at plantation time and grow with the plants.” Most of the challenges that the Arava Desert faces are the same as the problems that these students are facing back home, so seeing the way in which technology is helping to combat these problems first-hand brings the whole experience to life.

Lack of water supply, geographic isolation, difficult weather conditions, unproductive soil, and other complicated conditions are some of the challenges African and Asian students are learning to combat throughout their stay in the program. The school teaches the undergraduates the importance of proper crop planning, research, and implementation. They discuss the benefits and need for technologies such as drip irrigation and water management to keep the crops hydrated despite frequent water shortages, and pest control to maximize the output of each crop season.

Even more impressive are the values that AICAT imparts to these kids. ”If you want it, you can make a change. We teach that a difficulty is a challenge and you need to find a solution,” comments Arnon.

AICAT currently has an international master’s degree run in cooperation with Tel Aviv University that lasts 18 months. The specialty is Plant Sciences, and it touches on food safety and security issues.

NAMPO 2016 – Israeli Agro-Technologies Solving South African Farmer Woes

Israel is no stranger to drought, famine, and other issues that come from living in a desert climate with little room for improvement. As such, Israeli agribusiness are constantly developing better and more advanced technologies to help mitigate the topographical and meteorological hurdles that are central to the region, making Israel the ideal partner to help African countries that are struggling with these same serious problems. The Embassy of Israel in South Africa is one of the many prosperous partnerships that is helping bring Israeli technologies to African farmers and seeing outstanding success.

This year, the Embassy will be featuring some of the most up-to-date agro-technology companies at the NAMPO Harvest Day convention, and African businesses and citizens are invited to sit and discuss some exciting innovations for future development.

NAMPO 2016

The NAMPO Harvest Day show is an agricultural trade show that brings representatives from across the agricultural sector together. This year, several prominent Israeli agro-technologies are being introduced into the mix.

Israeli Agro-Technologies on Site

Here are a few innovative ideas in-the-making with the potential to aid African farmers in new and incredible ways.

  • Haifa Group (Haifa Chemicals Ltd.) is an industry leader, providing water-soluble fertilizers and plant nutrition supplements to enhance crop productivity in the open field. Currently, Haifa SA is working in the greenhouse sectors with control-released fertilizers across Africa including Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, and RSA. With the help of these plant nutritional solutions, Haifa Group is helping South African farmers increase their crop output in both quality and quantity, significantly decreasing the widespread famine that is a deep-seated issue in the region.
  • Metzerplas Agriplas is a manufacturer of irrigation equipment, so in essence, they are the conduit that lets farmers utilize the technologies that Israeli companies are bringing over. In addition to delivering these technologies, Agriplas has set up offices in Africa itself, providing over 100 job opportunities for the locals. Other irrigation systems that will be represented at the convention include NaandanJain and Netafim Ltd.
  • Mottes Tensiometers is a company that has developed and is currently utilizing tension lysimeters to measure the amount of nutrients in the roots of plants, really getting to the root of the agricultural problems.
  • Schneor Seeds CC is a developer that has germinated high-resilience fruit and vegetable seeds that are resistant to disease and infestation. These seeds can be a real breakthrough for global agriculture as they will eliminate one of the most troublesome barriers against solving world hunger.

The convention is being held in Bothaville, South Africa this year on May 17-20, and African businesses and citizens are invited to come witness some of the greatest agricultural technologies that are changing the world today.

Israeli Non-Profit is Saving Lives by the Millions

We all want to make a difference in the world, and Sivan Borowich Ya’ari is no different. That’s why when, on a business trip to the denim district of Africa, she saw an opportunity to help the suffering people in the African community, she knew what she had to do.

From that initial desire to help, Innovation: Africa was born, and they have been making this world a better place ever since. Who is Innovation: Africa? What do they do? And why are they making such a difference to the world? Find out this and more as we explore this humanitarian aid group that seems to know exactly how to get the job done.

How Innovation: Africa is Changing the World

Innovation: Africa has only been around since 2008, but they’ve managed to do a whole lot of good in that short time. They have launched over 100 individual projects across Africa and helped close to 1 million African citizens with their relief efforts.

Various projects have been launched to promote better living conditions for those suffering from poverty, hunger, poor medical treatments, and rampant diseases caused by unsanitary water supplies. The initiatives have brought clean water, solar energy, food supplies, and much needed medical care to those in need. One meaningful project that was launched involved bringing light to schools and orphanages that were living in the dark until then.

Innovation: Africa’s reach has covered the continent, spanning countries including Ethiopia, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, and Uganda.


Sharing the Wealth

As an Israeli-launched and run firm, Innovation: Africa knows the dramatic breakthroughs that Israelis have made in the fields of technology and agriculture. This non-profit organization is responsible for bringing popular Israeli agricultural technologies that have successfully transformed a dried out desert wasteland into a flourishing center for produce, vegetation, and of course technology.

Using solar-powered water pumps, drip irrigation, and other innovations, Ya’ari has increased agricultural productivity in the region, created more jobs for farmers, and provided an ecosystem for stronger, healthier economic growth. This solar pump technology that the Israelis are sharing with Africa takes advantage of the vast supply of water hidden under the ground. There is as much as 5,000 gallons of water sitting below the earth’s surface, and these pumps are collecting the water for use in the fields via the latest drip irrigation systems that have been installed.

Promoting Better Health Standards

Another powerful initiative launched by Innovation: Africa brought more vaccinations to the children of Africa. Currently, more than 300,000 African children have received vaccines from life-threatening diseases such as tuberculosis, diphtheria, and tetanus. Innovation: Africa used to be called the Jewish Heart for Africa, and while the name has changed, clearly the message remains the same.

How Israeli Startup Sight Diagnostics is Mending Malaria

In 2015, there were 214 million recorded cases of malaria across the globe. Of those infected, approximately 483,000 victims died of the disease. Since infection is spread by mosquitoes, malaria is extremely easy to contract. To make matters worse, diagnosing the disease has proven difficult, and many cases have gone misdiagnosed because of the complexity of the procedure. For decades, the medical world has been desperately attempting to generate a vaccine for this deadly disease, but all efforts have yielded negative results.

A glimmer of hope begins to light the way, though, as researchers at Sight Diagnostics, an Israeli medical device developer, has discovered a way to diagnose the disease in its earliest stages before it has had time to claim lives. With their newly developed technology, medical leaders are hopeful for a brighter future, one that doesn’t contain malaria.

Sight Diagnostics Sheds Light on Malaria Epidemic

Sight Diagnostics is a company that specializes in developing medical devices which use computer vision technology to effectively diagnose blood diseases. This innovative computer technology has lead to some astounding breakthroughs, the possible solution to Malaria being just one of them. The malaria device is called the Parasite Platform, and it’s so simple to use, medical professionals are surprised that someone didn’t come up with it sooner!

The Device to Diagnose the Disease

The Parasite Platform is currently being used by medical professionals all over the world to diagnose malaria. The significant breakthrough here is that it can diagnose the disease quickly and in a cost-efficient way. Since so many cases of malaria have gone untreated because of the costly, timely, and inaccurate diagnoses process, this device could well change the course of the malaria epidemic completely. The Parasite Platform is easy to use and has the most accurate results to date.

To see how the Parasite Platform works, check out this video:

A Global Solution

Africa has been hit hard by malaria, recording a $12 million annual loss due to the negative impact it’s had on tourism, increased medical care costs, and lost work force. Additionally, 90% of the deaths cited above were within Africa, so naturally Sight has geared much of their product distribution towards this region of the world. The devices are currently being sold and used successfully across India, Africa, and Europe, and according to Sight, this could be the biggest innovation for malaria development since the introduction of PCR.

On the heels of the Parasite Platform success, Sight has continued to develop their technology so they can develop and market a point-of-care complete blood count device that can be used in ordinary hospitals and doctors’ offices. Other innovations are in the research stages, and Sight Diagnostics may unveil more groundbreaking and life-saving measures in the near future.

Tel Aviv Startup Empowering South African Women

Even in our all-accepting and gender-equivalent society, woman are still struggling to show doubters that they have every bit as much to offer the world – in particular, the scientific world – as their male counterparts. Fortunately, Start-Up Tel Aviv has got these ladies’ backs because their tremendous international competition is focusing its attention on promising South African women in high-tech this year.

israel in south africa

Start-Up Tel Aviv Invites Women to Compete

The competition has broad parameters, allowing any woman in senior or founding positions within a South African high-tech startup to apply. While this is always the case for the exciting competition, this year has a particular focus on the women of the industry, and it promises to reward individuals who show innovation and unique leadership qualities.

Judging Fairly

The respected judges will choose between the many applicants to find the women with some of the most unique and innovative technologies that can be both scalable and sustainable for the future. Among the judges themselves are several prominent women including Noluthando Gosa, Hillary Joffe, and Tanya Kovarsky. Gosa is known as being a significant and active voice in various projects including the Institute of Directors of South Africa, the Black Business Council, and the Business Women’s Association of South Africa. Joffe is a major player in the financial journalism field in South Africa, and Kovarsky is currently the PR and Communications Lead of Core Group. Other judges include Toby Shapshack, Stuff Magazine publisher, and Arthur Goldstuck, World Wide Worx founder and acclaimed writer.

Competition: Rules & Requirements

Start-Up Tel Aviv is currently running its third competition. The contest works in two stages. First startups from all over the world compete to be one of the finalists. The cream of the crop are chosen from the various startups spanning 21 different countries. From there, these companies will compete for the coveted prize.

What is the competition prize? Winners are awarded with an all-expenses paid trip to Tel Aviv, where they will spend almost a week in the vastly knowledgeable startup communities within this tech hub. Tech startups are eager to win because they know how much they can learn from this experience-rich atmosphere. Winners will also be introduced to several prominent members in various fields including investors, scientists, and cultural leaders, all individuals who could potentially change the course of development for these startups.

The only requirements are that the contestants must be a part of a tech company that is currently in the seed stage of development. Oh, and they had better be coming in with some major innovations because the competition is fierce.

Kaiima – AgriTech’s Pick for Solving World Hunger

World hunger is a serious problem, and one that scientists, farmers, politicians, and world leaders are constantly struggling to overcome. This is why when Israeli company Kaiima turned out a bumper crop of experimental produce, the entire world stopped to listen. And they had some pretty fascinating things to say.

The Kaiima Method

Kaiima is a successful agro-biotech that is tackling the world’s hunger problem by making crop production a more efficient and productive process. The science behind their methods is known as Clean Genome Multiplication (CGM) technology and it effectively enhances the crop’s production levels, by dramatically encouraging the vegetation to increase the chromosome production in the plants.

This is actually a natural process that is already occurring in the plants, so the CGM is simply giving it a boost in order to do its job better. The Kaiima method is a further development of this process that they’ve termed EP (Enhanced Ploidy) for the greater ploidy genomes that are produced without damaging quality.

According to Doron Gal, CEO of Kaiima, “In agriculture, this is considered a game-changing technology…Kaiima is the first since the green revolution that has an interesting yield-enhancement technology.” And that technology is really making waves in the agricultural communities across the world.

Seeing Resounding Results

So is the Kaima method as good as they say it is? Their 2014 numbers for corn, soy, wheat, and rice closed near $30 billion, a real bumper crop if ever there was one! These specific crops are in tremendous demand globally, with a 90% increase over the last 30 years. Overall, Kaiima has been able to increase crop production by 10-50%, a development that hasn’t been seen since the beginning of the “green revolution”.

With production levels like this, when the seeds go to market in a few weeks, everyone is hopeful that the rising global hunger problems will be significantly reduced.

Kaiima’s Global Aid

Kaiima has gained global recognition over the past few years for its tremendous strides made in struggling countries across the world. In 2013, the bio-agritech company teamed up with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in India in an attempt to breed new types of rice that would have greater biomass and grain yield, effectively feeding more people with less. Their efforts in Africa to establish stronger vegetation were equally successful.

Investors such as Horizon, The World Bank Group, the International Financial Corporation, and Infinity Group are all backing this noble project. Currently Kaiima has subsidiaries in North America and Israel, and the company plans to expand their operations for further research and development. Kaiima means sustainable, and that is certainly something that they are helping to achieve!

IAI Helps India Get a Foot Up on Its Defense Network

IAI had another successful trip to India this week, as a major deal between the Indian Ministry of Defense and this leading developer and producer of defense systems and technologies was signed at the Defexpo 2016. The conference was held last week in Goa, India, and IAI president Joseph Weiss flew in to sit with heads of many of the major defense and security companies within India.

Signed, Sealed & Delivered

The upshot of all these meetings was outstanding success for both sides, as a number of deals amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars were signed. The Indian defense organizations were interested in several technologies including the air defense systems, unmanned aerial systems (UAS), and radar systems, all of which are going to provide India with a stronger line of defense than ever before.

As Weiss himself said, “India has unique operational requirements, and IAI is dedicating its best talents, technologies and capabilities to meet those challenges. We will continue our long-term, strategic partnership with India, meet our customers’ expectations and implement the ‘Make in India’ policy led by India’s Prime Minister.”

IAI in Action

IAI is an aerospace and defense company based in Israel. It is the largest government run organization, and it supplies advanced systems including satellites, space systems, robotics, cyber solutions, electronic intelligence, and command and strategic control systems, as well as more germane systems such as their passenger to freighter conversion systems.

Of course, this is not the first time IAI has signed a deal with the Indian Ministry of Defense. The prominent defense company has been supplying defense technology to India and several other governments for over a quarter of a century, with joint ventures, subcontracts, and cooperation agreements spanning the globe. The Israeli company has worked closely with India in particular, offering their important services and innovations to several branches of the Indian defense forces including coast guard, navy, air force, and border control.

The Future of Defense

The expo was a valuable opportunity for IAI to display some of their latest innovations, many of which have already been successfully demonstrated within India and have won the interest of the Indian Ministry of Defense. Some of the exciting developments included newly engineered IEDs (improvised explosive devices) that can be detonated in non conventional ways and an early warning system driven via radar sensors that are invaluable for signalling against mortar attacks.

India and Israel will continue their research and development together to provide the most productive and solid defense systems available.

India Investing in Israel, Israel Updating India

India and Israel have been courting each other for nearly twelve years now, and in recent years the relationship has blossomed into a full-blown love affair. The two biggest investment firms in India are already smitten with the small, technology-based country, and now the third conglomerate is getting in on the fun. Aditya Birla has dispatched representatives to assess the current situation in Israel as a precursor for some major investments into the development of several lucky startups, and Israel is welcoming the idea with open arms.

Aditya Birla Scopes Out The Scene

The Group Executive President of Corporate Strategy and Business Development, Dev Bhattacharya, came to Israel in February with the explicit instructions to scout out the prospects. Along with several directors of various branches of Aditya Birla, Bhattacharya reviewed close to 500 startups across Israel that covered the spectrum of the technology industry. After the initial assessment, Aditya Birla will bring a select few of the chosen companies over to India to pitch their concepts to the board of investors. The lucky winners will receive a fund that will allow these companies to continue researching and developing their concepts.

The companies reviewed covered a wide range of industries including cybersecurity, water tech, financial technology, new media, and cleantech. Aditya Birla already has their hand in most industries across India, so the spread is in keeping with their current domestic practices. The company currently stands at approximately $41 million.

Previous Investments

Infosys made headlines when they bought out Panaya, a major database management service in Israel that is based on the cloud, for $200 million. This was a worthwhile investment that helped Infosys advance their service offerings and expand their reach. Tata is another smart Indian company that jumped on the Israel bandwagon early on. They have already invested in the Tel Aviv University’s Technology Innovation Momentum Fund, and Tata is looking towards their groundbreaking discoveries in several fields including pharmaceuticals, healthcare, cleantech, and software development.

According to Shlomo Nimrodi, Ramot’s CEO, “Tata is a huge company, worth $100 billion at least, but they have made a strategic decision to significantly expand that worth in the coming years, and the best way for them to do that is via innovation.” So it seems that Israeli innovations are the up and coming trends for developing economies.

A Win-Win Situation

The partnership is being viewed as a positive move for both sides of the arrangement. The Israeli startups are excited to be getting the funding to fuel further development of some concepts and technologies could very well change the face of the world. The Indian investors are also thrilled to be the recipients of these new technologies and are anxious to see what this undervalued resource of the Middle East will produce in the future. With this deal in the bag, the world can expect to see more Indian-Israel relations cropping up in the coming years.

Beating Zika & Making a Difference, Israeli Biofeed Takes on the Challenge

Biofeed is a company with a mission. They’re out to change the world, and they are well on their way towards doing it. Thanks to the Grand Challenges contest hosted in Israel this year, Biofeed has been given 500,000 NIS to continue their research combating the Zika virus. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, the insect responsible for spreading the pernicious virus, has been the subject of the team’s research for some time now, and at last the Israeli corporation is seeing results.

A Global Issue

Zika is commonly misdiagnosed since the symptoms including high fever, rashes, and joint pain, often go unnoticed or misread until later stages. While generally not lethal, the Zika virus is a prolific disease due to its fast and far-reaching method of transmission – the insects bite people and then fly great distances to spread the malady. Aside from being a major discomfort, Zika can cause brain damage to fetuses in-utero and a temporary form of paralysis for the mother. The virus is currently affecting millions of victims across Africa and other poverty-stricken nations. With time though, Biofeed plans to make this problem disappear.

Biofeed to the Rescue

Biofeed is working with a scented poison that will attract and infect these insects, eradicating entire colonies in the process. The substance is perfectly harmless for humans, but it will effectively wipe out these pesky pests.

When asked what the motivation was for such a movement, Mashav, Israel’s agency that deals with International Development Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, director Gil Haskel explains, “Much of the world’s population is suffering from lack of food and access to clean water and exposure to diseases. Israeli entrepreneurs have developed technologies that will improve the quality of life for billions around the world.” Biofeed is one of the companies taking these challenges head on.

Making Waves All Over the World

The Grand Challenges contest is helping Biofeed and other innovative companies complete their altruistic missions. The concept behind the initiative is to connect world-changing technological developments with the entrepreneurship to fund their discoveries. It is their hope that these breakthroughs will help make the world a better place, specifically catering their efforts towards global issues that exist in Africa, South America, Asia, and other problem areas throughout the world.

A nationwide initiative, the Grand Challenge has already seen dramatic results. Nine other companies were also given the grant to further their developments within their specific fields. Some of the other Israeli contestants include Amaizz, a company that is helping Kenya solve their crops issues;  FIT, the creators of expanding prosthetic appendages to help ease the adjustment cycle and pain in children with these needs; and Semorex, a research lab conquering cancer by killing off cancerous cells.

This is the second year Israel is participating in a Grand Challenge contest, and governments, entrepreneurs, and organizations alike are all anxious to see what major results will come out of this pint-sized country.


Israeli Ophthalmologist is Saving The World by Changing The Winds

Wind turbines are a popular form of renewable energy that are slowly being adopted all over the world. One of the leading researchers and developers of this earth-friendly alternative is Leviathan Energy Renewables, Ltd. based in Israel. And with traditional Israeli tenacity one scientist is striving to change the world by harnessing these winds. And he is succeeding beyond expectations.

Leviathan Energy Renewables Making Leviathan Changes

Dr. Daniel Farb is the CEO of Leviathan. Together with his team, Farb is revolutionizing the way the world uses this alternative energy source in both its breadth and depth of usability. Farb’s goal is to make this form of renewable energy so efficient that anyone in the world can use it no matter where in the world they are. So not only are Leviathan’s innovations making the wind turbines more powerful, but they are successfully introducing them to areas all over the world that have never been able to utilize such technology before.

Leviathan Across the Globe

Leviathan Energy holds over 30 patents in different countries across the globe including the US, South Africa, Canada, and of course Israel. Some of these innovative concept designs are similar to their previously launched inventions such as wind energizers. These are panels that increase the speed of the wind near the wind turbines, essentially evening out the force of the wind against the turbine for greater efficiency. This can actually be useful in areas that experience lower wind speeds.

So how effective are these Farb-introduced methods? According to the research, previous attempts at improving wind turbine production have been focused on the turbine itself and have yielded approximately 1-2% improvement. In contrast, Leviathan’s methods are seeing as much as 30% increased production levels.

Crowdfunding Their Way to Success

Investors are lining up to fund this project, but everyone wants to see a working prototype first. Since the working turbines of today are generally 80-100 meters wide, Farb is now set on raising $1 million to fund the continuation of his research and development centers. If successful, this one Israeli could impact the climate change dilemma of the entire world.