Urgent call for agritech investment echoed at Israeli Agriculture Conference
During the Globes Innovation in Agriculture Conference, a panel focusing on innovation and impact in Israeli agriculture and industry underscored the critical juncture faced by agritech. Leaders in the field deliberated the sector’s current status, its future trajectory, and the potential repercussions of inaction.
Dubi Amitai, President of the Israel Farmers Association and Chairman of the Israel Business Sector Presidency, highlighted a concerning stagnation in Israeli agriculture’s manufacturing capacity over the past five years. “With the looming challenges of climate change, it’s evident that our current practices are unsustainable. Embracing technology, like my own use of an app with sensors to manage 500 dunams (125 acres), isn’t just an option—it’s a necessity to enhance productivity per acre,” Amitai stressed.
Echoing the urgency, Doron Meller, Chief Innovation Officer at Netter Center, remarked, “The focus isn’t on the distant future but on the immediate present. While gaming and internet sectors flourish, agriculture, one of the least digitalized industries, urgently needs significant investment to avert a looming crisis.”
Meller further illustrated the transformative potential of technology in agriculture, from optimizing fertilizer use to facilitating carbon sequestration in soil and transitioning to lab-based agricultural production, stepping away from traditional animal farming.
Natan Feldman, VP of Innovation, Business Development, and Marketing at Haifa Group, shed light on the symbiotic relationship between agriculture and the broader food production chain. “Israel serves as a pioneering market, influencing global technology adoption in agriculture. Modern analytical tools now allow farmers to make data-driven decisions, moving beyond traditional methods. Haifa Group’s advanced feed solutions are revolutionizing the field, significantly increasing yield per acre,” stated Feldman.
Michal Fink, Deputy Director General for Policy Strategy and Planning at the Ministry of Economy and Industry, highlighted the government’s commitment to fostering a supportive environment for agritech. “Through establishing infrastructures like the Growing IL ecosystem and enhancing physical infrastructures in strategic locations, we’re bolstering a conducive business environment and supporting micro-industry complexes,” Fink elucidated.
Esther Barak Landes, Founding Managing Partner at FLORA Ventures, expressed optimism regarding Israel’s trajectory in high-tech and innovation. “Israel has been a global pioneer in sectors like cybersecurity and fintech since the 1980s. Today, we’re witnessing a similar awakening in the agritech market, with entrepreneurs increasingly recognizing and seizing opportunities in this vital sector,” she concluded.