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The development of Israeli technology and its impact on agriculture

During the last few years, the technology development Israel has been primarily responsible for the growth of the region's agricultural sector. This is quite a feat when we take into account that for years Israel has faced water scarcity due to 60% of its land being desert.

Thanks to the policies adopted by the Israeli government, today the country is one of the main benchmarks in water management. This has made Israel the only country in the world where desertification is decreasing, all thanks to precision agriculture.

However, water management is not the only thing that has driven the development of agriculture. Currently, there are various companies that are improving the fields through the use of different technologies that complement each other.

If you want to know more about how technological advances have turned Israel into an agricultural powerhouse, this article explains it all.

Role of technology development in solving the water crisis

For decades, Israel has faced serious problems due to the lack of water in the region. Despite this, today it is a prosperous country that has overcome all adversities thanks to technology development.

In fact, Israel is not only currently one of the main agri-food exporters, but also has an abundant and guaranteed supply of water. 

Believe it or not, Israel is the only place in the world where the desert is receding, which is why the UN has described it as a nation "expert in combating desertification".

However, this did not happen overnight, rather it is the result of many years of work and preparation with the support of both government and private industry.

How did it all begin

In the late 1920s, Israel was controlled by Great Britain who soon realized that a huge crisis was coming. Its specialists noted that the arrival of more Jews in Palestine would bring with it a serious problem: there was not enough drinking water in the region to sustain the population.

Given that much of the country was desert, the available water was concentrated in the north, far from the central region where new settlers were settling. To solve this, the government began to develop a water plan that consisted of three stages:

  • Extraction of water through deep drilling
  • Pumping water from the Jordan River to the southeast
  • The construction of the National Aqueduct

Thanks to this enormous water system, the Israeli government guaranteed the supply of fresh water throughout the entire national territory.

From political decisions to technological solutions

In 2006, Israel made the decision to hand over water management from politicians to specialists, creating the Israel Water Authority. One of the first measures taken by the new body was that the state stopped subsidizing water and each family began to pay for the water they consumed.

This measure had two effects: on the one hand, water consumption decreased (because it was no longer free) and on the other, the money collected began to be used to improve the infrastructure through technology development.

Since the 2000s, the Israeli government has invested more than $750 million in the creation of 67 large sewage treatment plants. sewage water all over the country. Currently, Israel is the absolute leader in wastewater treatment, since 90% of the water it consumes is recycled.

wastewater treatment
Wastewater treatment Israel

Otro logro tecnológico

This measure is reinforced by another amazing technological achievement: the desalination of seawater. Currently, Israel is capable of processing some 600 million cubic meters of seawater and making it drinkable. This covers 70% of the total domestic water consumption in the country.

On the other hand, the Israeli government established a plan that supported innovation in water, so many technology companies began to emerge that provide solutions from different points of view.

It is precisely the growth of these companies that earned Israel the title of the Startup Nation. In fact, the success of Israel's tech companies is so remarkable that the World Economic Forum itself sees it as a example to follow.

Drip irrigation: how it revolutionized agricultural production

For many specialists, drip irrigation is one of the main reasons why Israel has become an agricultural power. Thanks to this system, farmers can supply the right amount of water and nutrients to crops, ensuring that they receive just what they need.

Drip irrigation avoids wasting water

Drip irrigation consists of a localized irrigation in which water and nutrients are supplied in the form of drops directly to the roots of the plants. By using this system it is possible to optimize the use of water up to 95% and it is possible to increase both the volume and the quality of production.

Pero estos no son los únicos beneficios que el riego por goteo aporta a los cultivos. También ofrecen un sinfín de ventajas entre las que se destacan las siguientes:

  • It is an automated system, so it requires little labor.
  • It decreases the growth of weeds, since it does not provide them with water to survive.
  • Reduces the appearance of fungi and other bacteria in plants.
  • Eliminates soil erosion.
  • Save up to 60% water.
  • It can be used in areas of difficult access.
  • Improves the productivity rate per hectare.

The use of drip irrigation has not only made Israel's arid soils usable for agriculture, but also prevents fertilizer contamination of rivers and groundwater.

Companies that use the development of technology in agriculture

Israel is, today, one of the main powers in the world. technology development focused on agriculture. Currently, there are a large number of technology companies operating in the country, whose discoveries have served as the basis for the growth of the agricultural sector in the region.

From the use of artificial intelligence to drones and satellite imagery, the technology is very well represented in the field. Naming all the companies and their contributions is an almost impossible task.

Here some of them:

  • Taranis. It uses high-resolution satellite images for the analysis and identification of damage caused by diseases and pests in crops.
  • SeeTree. Scan, analyze and deliver information on fruit trees through the use of drones.
  • AgroScout. It uses drones and artificial intelligence for the early detection of pests and diseases in crops.
  • GreenEye. It uses artificial intelligence to precisely dose pesticides through a selective spray system.
  • SeedX. He created a system that identifies and classifies seeds robotically.
  • BioBee. It focuses on biological pest management and natural pollination using natural solutions.
  • N-Drip. A pioneer in precision irrigation that developed a gravity micro-irrigation system that does not require pumps or filters.
  • WeedOUT. Es una empresa galardonada como la Mejor Empresa Israelí de Agtech del 2018. Ella se enfoca en la eliminación de malezas sin perjudicar a los cultivos.
  • EcoPhage. It is a company founded by Bayer that uses bacteriophages to attack bacteria that cause plant diseases.
  • IBI-Ag. It specializes in insect control without using chemical pesticides, attacking the pest selectively.
  • Manna. Provides hardware-free daily irrigation recommendations and crop monitoring for better water-use efficiency. From my point of view, they are the best existing systems and with many connection and scalability possibilities at an affordable cost for all types of producers. you can investigate more haciendo clic acá.

Escasez de mano de obra

After water, the second problem facing Israel is the shortage of labor in the fields. To meet this need, various companies are making use of the technology development from different angles.

Robots harvest: apples, plums, avocados, etc…

One of the most used technologies is robotics, which is applied both for planting and for harvesting the final product. In this regard, companies such as Tevel, Senecio Robotics and Forrest Innovations, among many others, stand out.

Machines that will replace farmers and laborers. (agrobot – The Confidential)

Development of Israeli technology in other countries

The technology development en Israel no solo se utiliza para solucionar sus problemas internos; sino que sus innovaciones están siendo exportadas a otros países.

For example, Avenews is building infrastructure for two banks in Africa for the purpose of financing agricultural initiatives. Another Israeli company present in Africa is CropTech, which seeks to optimize land use through technological planning tools. Bumblebee AI, a company that specializes in pollinating fruit trees, is also offering its services around the world.

We also have the selection and collection / harvest) of fruits through A.I. which is advancing by leaps and bounds.

If there is a country from which we have a lot to learn, it is, without a doubt, Israel. Over the years, this nation has shown us that only with perseverance and a strategically designed plan can we overcome all the adversities that arise.

Government, companies and farmers are called upon to take on the weight of the world food situation with its complexities. Understanding that the future is already present in many cases should lead us to take determined actions with responsibility, both in terms of sustainability and social responsibility. The way to do it is undoubtedly to incorporate into the strategy the adoption of available advances and take a step forward in innovating to differentiate adequately.

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I AM HECTOR PINCHEIRA | TECHNOLOGICAL EXPERT

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