Sharing know-how with other countries The most advanced irrigation and fertilization technologies coming out of Israel will be presented at Agritech by Yuval Elazar, head of special training activities at the CINADCO Center for International Agricultural Development Cooperation. Based in Rishon LeZion, CINADCO implements Israel’s agricultural cooperation policies with more than 140 developing nations, working through MASHAV, the Israeli agency for international development. Multilingual training sessions in Israel and abroad cover water resources management, irrigation and fertilization, sustainable market-oriented agriculture, intensive livestock and dairy production. There are numerous examples of how Israel has shared its agricultural technology breakthroughs practically since the founding of the state. Across the globe, countries use Israeli methods for raising crops and farm animals. At the Agritech expo, representatives from Hof Hasharon Dairy Farm, SAE Afikim (www.afimilk.com) and http://www.scrdairy.com/default.asp will demonstrate their advanced systems for herd management, monitoring and feeding. Afikim’s AfiMilk subsidiary recently taught two visiting groups of Chinese dairy farmers and dairy experts how to use AfiMilk technologies to increase milk production, improve efficiency and care for dairy cows. AfiMilk equipment is installed at 105 milking parlors in China. And last year, a new company in Vietnam signed a five-year contract with the Israeli company to set up a major dairy farm project. Watering the desert Director Aylon Gadiel of the Central and Northern Arava Research and Development will explain to Agritech visitors how Israel continues to turn deserts into fertile growing grounds. “We do a lot of projects with water usage and everything having to do with irrigation, because we’re in an area that is not connected to the national water carrier and all the water we have is saline,” he explains to ISRAEL21c. These R&D projects in the central and northern Arava Valley, part of a 112-mile region stretching from the Dead Sea south to the Red Sea, focus on vegetables, ornamentals, plant protection, orchards, organic agriculture, fishery and produce quality. “We have to do a lot of research to give answers to growers who are seeking to make better use of water with the quality we have right now,” says Gadiel. “It’s irrigation and fertilization together, or what we call ‘fertigation.’” All successful Arava R&D technologies are shared with the 600 or so farmers of the Arava and with agriculturists in other countries. By 2007, the Arava was the source of about 60 percent of total Israeli exports of fresh vegetables and about 15% of its ornamentals export total. Most everything is grown in high-tech greenhouses and shadehouses. Protecting natural resources Dean Aharon Friedman tells ISRAEL21c that preserving the environment is the motivation behind many of the developments at the Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture of the Hebrew University. “There is no room for abusing natural resources anymore,” Friedman says. At the Rehovot campus, researchers are involved in myriad projects based on this principle. One uses oyster mushrooms to turn non-biodegradable residues from cotton harvesting and olive-oil production into nutritious cattle feed. Another uses engineered tobacco plants to produce inexpensive and plentiful collagen for biomedical purposes. The university’s scientists also, of course, concentrate on water conservation. Israel leads the world in wastewater reclamation, says Friedman. “We are the only country that recycles 70 percent of its sewage water for irrigation. We really try to revitalize as much water as possible.” Hebrew University water scientists pioneered solutions ranging from cheaper and better filtration systems to beads of bacteria that continuously purify and recycle the water in artificial fishery ponds. All of this, and much more, will be showcased at Agritech 2012.
Visitors from 115 countries are expected at Agritech Israel in mid-May. Now in its 18th year, the show is the go-to event for all the latest innovations in the industry.