Ag Tech News
Ethiopia-Israel Strengthen Agriculture with New Technologies
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia–Israel is working with Ethiopia and other East African countries to improve agriculture by developing new technologies such technologies include but not limited to Computer drip irrigation.
Computer drip irrigation; early warning systems; and thermal imaging; are some of the projects underway.
Farming accounts for half of GDP and 83.9 percent of total employment in Ethiopia so improving productivity is a priority. Horticulture was the main point of discussion at a recent conference.
Israel is an example to the world in optimising the use of water. The country has high level technologies and their involvement will benefit both small and large scale farmers.
“We recognize the hard work and invention of Israeli scientists in creating appropriate products,” said Ethiopia’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Minister, Dr. Eyasu Abrha. “New technologies and developments will go a long way to improving efficiency.”
Israel’s Agri-Tech sector has recently gained strong ground in the global competition for funding. The nation has a population of 8.5 million and more than 400 start-ups. It’s dry and desert climate make it a natural source for innovation. Since the 1950s, Israel has been finding miraculous ways to green their own desert. They are now sharing those discoveries far and wide through channels such as MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development.
MASHAV recently celebrated 60 years of cooperation with Ethiopia through a photo exhibition in Addis Ababa. The agency has changed the lives of many people in that time by introducing new products and technologies. Quality varieties of highly exportable avocado seed were introduced by MASHAV. They also brought computer drip irrigation to the country which has increased output massively. Only 5% of the arable land in Ethiopia is cultivated through irrigation but that is increasing every year.
“We concentrate on human capacity building,” said Raphael Morav, Israeli ambassador to Ethiopia. “MASHAV train people on the best farming techniques and technologies. The majority of projects we undertake are very effective.”
East Africa is an ideal place for growing a wide array of cereals, fruits, vegetables, flowers and spices. On Valentine’s Day this year Ethiopia exported more than 11 million pieces of flower and it is the second-largest provider after Kenya, with over 100 growers on 1,700 hectares. The majority of farmers currently use the rainy season from June to August to water their crops, leading to only one harvest. Drip Irrigation and Computer Drip Irrigation is an effective way to address that problem.
The system works by pulling water from rivers and lakes with lifting pumps. This water is then pumped through a hose with holes along crop rows. Drip Irrigation saves a lot of waste and money. Governmental programs are available to help farmers and suppliers who want to invest in drip irrigation. Purchasing and importing high-quality equipment requires less capital investment thanks to these programs.
Smart Farming is another sector where Israel can pass on invaluable knowledge to East Africa. The technology uses data driven solutions and high performance hardware to increase resource efficiency and crop yield. In 2016, Israeli companies in this category raised $27 million which was 7.4% of the $363 million raised globally. In 2016, Israeli Ag biotech companies raised $14.7 million. Other categories showing promise are machinery, robotics and drones.