If you think about fertile land for agricultural development, Israel probably doesn’t immediately come to mind. But perhaps it should. Despite a desert climate and the relative youth of the country, Israel’s technological development has created a boom in agricultural innovation, with technology that helps farmers and companies develop healthier, higher-quality foods. With the challenges facing the world’s farming and crops markets, this tiny country provides a wealth of opportunity moving into the future of agriculture.
Addressing Agricultural Challenges
Agriculture today needs technology to succeed. Climate change is creating growing uncertainty in how and where plants will continue to grow well, and natural resources are diminishing over time. On the other hand, the world population continues to grow. This means that, absent technological solutions, the farms of the world will struggle to keep up with demand in the decades to come.
To address these concerns, technological developers must lead the way. Irrigation techniques continue to advance, reducing further the dependence on natural water supplies near farms. Bioengineering strategies are also emerging. Farmers today can scientifically approach crops to make them healthier and increase their overall quality in safe, effective ways.
Why Israel Makes Sense
In its sixty-eight years of existence, Israel has had to create and use technologies to grow crops. An arid desert climate requires engineering to help agriculture meet the needs of its population, so as early as the mid-1960s, companies like Netafim were revolutionizing irrigation technology in Israel. The country leads much of the world in agricultural technologies, and continues to push ahead to meet more of the surging world demand for science and farming to intersect.
From its work to feed its own citizens, the agricultural technology market in Israel has expanded. Its companies, like Afamilk, Evogene, and Biobee, have grown in both size and number, and are now capable of managing and running farms all over the world. Hundreds of Israeli agtech startups emerge each year. In 2015, a Harvester Venture fund of $40 to $50 million was established, and a pledge by Bayer of another $10 million was made in 2016.
Israel’s agricultural technology prowess represents a growth area well into the future. Investors and nations looking to capitalize on Israel’s capabilities need to work within its legal and regulatory system to fully realize the potential there.