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.

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!

Israeli Sewage Recycling Technology to Renew Hope for Indian Agriculture

It’s common knowledge that Israelis can work magic in the realm of agriculture and, more specifically, nontraditional irrigation demands. Using their advanced technology, the Israeli government transformed a desert strip into a fruit-bearing produce exporter with delectable produce on-demand in every season.

In an effort to raise productivity throughout India, the two countries partnered up to bring these ground-breaking technologies to Indian soil with positive results all around. This month, the Centre of Excellence launches a new initiative to recycle accumulating sewage water and use it to irrigate the Kesar mango crops.

A Centre is Built & a Partnership is Born

Since its inception several years ago, the Himayat Bagh Indo-Israel Centre of Excellence has been utilizing Israeli technologies, research laboratories, and packaging houses to promote and develop the agricultural sector in the area. With its newest project, the CoE aims to irrigate the mango crops with recycled sewage water from the Salim Ali Lake. While India will be contributing the infrastructure and location for implementing the new system, Israel will provide the training and support for the technology. A perfect combination.

There are currently four centres of excellence peppered across India. Kesar and Alphonso mango centres are in Aurangabad and Dapol respectively. The other two centres are in Rahuri and Nagpur, the former producing bumper crops of pomegranates, and the latter growing citrus fruits.

Addressing the Drought Issue

At an Adhunik Kissan gathering, David Akov, Israeli Consul General, spoke of the recurring drought issue in India. “To overcome the lengthening cycles of drought in Marathwada,’ says Akov, “the region should go [the] Israel way and develop a system for recycling, purifying, storing and conveying treated waste-water when and where farms need it, along with renowned drip-irrigation innovations to use the precious liquid most efficiently for agriculture.”

Israel is quite familiar with this process. Nearly 85% of sewage in Israel is recycled. Amazingly, this recycled sewage accounts for close to half of the crop irrigation needs of the entire country.

Technology Sharing

In addition to the sewage recycling systems, India is interested in implementing several other Israeli technologies that will help boost their agricultural market. Water conservation, post-harvest processing, and drip irrigation systems will all increase crop production and significantly reduce the dismay that many Indian farmers are currently under. Israel is also working side by side with the Indian government to set up administrative divisions in both Yavatmal and Osmanabad to help further the rural integration development efforts within the country.

With all these initiatives in place, it can be said with confidence that the Indo-Israel CoE will produce resounding success for the entire country to enjoy.