A group of rural leaders landed in Israel in June for a technical mission. The 40 participants went to Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Negev Desert, and other regions. The goal was to learn about the innovations and technologies used in agricultural production in the country.
The event was promoted by the Agriculture Federation of the State of Paraná (FAEP) and included the participation of Bruno Lucchi, Technical Director of the Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA). He accompanied the visits to rural properties, agritechs, as well as water reuse and power generation centers.
“It was a very important mission because we could see how Israel turns challenges into opportunities and how investing in research and data management is crucial to increase the profitability of rural producers,” says Bruno.
During FAEP’s mission, the group visited the Volcani Center and the Gilat Regional Research Center, where they saw how the country uses water efficiently, studying the exact crop demand, the use of genetic improvement with genes from plants adapted to the desert, and real-time monitoring of the soil, plants, and fruits.
Water reuse and clean energy
According to Bruno Lucchi, as a scarce resource, water has great relevance in Israel. Thus, the country bases its use on three pillars: economic (charging and control of water use, which yields more efficiency); water production (desalination); and water recycling (90% of sewage water is recycled and used fully in agricultural activities).
A visit to the Shafdan Water Treatment Plant was also on the technical mission’s agenda. There, 400 thousand m³/day of wastewater is collected from Tel Aviv and other cities in the region. There are 180 meters of piping that cut across the country in three large lines, containing pipes with both drinkable water and recycled water, which is used for irrigation. The water is purified at the station within 24 hours.
The delegation also visited the Ashalim Power Plant, located in the Negev Desert. At the plant, 50.6 thousand mirrors reflect sun rays onto a 250-meter-high tower that generates power for more than 100 thousand homes.
“Solar energy is also used in protected crops, experiments inside greenhouses, plates that during the day, as well as on top of fruit crops. As the country has a small available area, there is a law that prevents the placement of solar plates on the ground, so there are studies on how the angulation of plates under crops positively affects productivity,” explains Bruno.
Farming and technology
The group also visited the Commercial Dairy Cattle Farm to understand more about how the activity works in the country. Just like in agriculture, everything is monitored: from animal movement to determine heat and metabolic problems, to milk production and quality.
In Israel, feeding centers provide producers with the entire animal nutrition, eliminating the production process of feeding herds on farms. Each cow in the country exceeds the average production of 40 liters of milk per day due to genetic improvement, nutrition, and robust investment in ambiance.
The group of farmers visited the startup CropX, which has applied evapotranspiration monitoring systems, and BeeFree Agro, which works with drones and management software for beef cattle. The farmers also visited the irrigation company Netafim, where they could see a series of innovations in the irrigation of protected crops and drip irrigation systems.
In Jerusalem, the group took part in a lecture at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the event, they learn about data that show that Israel is an innovative country, demonstrating that more than 50% of its exports are related to technology.
The country invests 5.4% of its GDP in research and development (R&D) and is considered the first among OECD countries. In addition, it held the second country in the world with the largest number of companies listed on Nasdaq, a stock exchange focused on technology companies.
CNA’s Technical Director, Bruno Lucchi, pointed out that Israel invests heavily in technology and education, and seeks efficiency, practicality, and good results. “These are examples in which we can mirror ourselves and adapt them to the Brazilian reality so that we can make our agribusiness even more competitive,” he says.