Israel offers agri-tech solutions to India’s agriculture challenges
India is an agricultural giant ranked second in global farm output with exports of agricultural products worth over $ 26 billion in 2016. Globally, India is the largest producer of spices and millet and third largest producer of wheat. The agricultural sector account for 17 % of India’s GDP and is the principal source of livelihood for 58 % of the country’s rural households. As such, more than 263 million Indians are employed in the sector.
Despite the abundant opportunities presented by India’s global dominance in agriculture, there are also many challenges which are as follows:
- more and more fragmented landholdings
- aggressive use of chemicals
- inefficient use of water or lack of it
- obsolete farming technology and methods
- rising input costs
- limited access to credit and technology
- supply chain problems, and
- outdated marketing
Because of the above-mentioned challenges, majority of India’s 140 million farmers are restricted to using traditional methods that limit crop yields and productivity, adversely affecting farmer’s welfare, prosperity and security.
Israel’s growing agri-tech solutions
Israel is known for their technological advances and innovations in the field of agriculture. Due to shortage of natural resources in the small desert nation, Israel has developed innovative methods and technologies for growing more with less under challenging conditions. Israel’s expertise in arid climate agriculture, efficient dairy farms, resilient seeds, drip irrigation, as well as novel plants (such as cherry tomatoes and collagen-producing tobacco plants) attracted many agriculture MNCs including Monsanto, Bayer, BASF, Duponto and Syngenta, to collaborate with Israel’s agri-tech sector, sometimes to acquire an Israeli startup or establish an R&D branch in Israel. Precision agriculture is also particularly advanced in Israel with their strong expertise in sensors, big-data, computer-vision and drones. With over 400 agri-tech companies and leading institutions such as the Agricultural Research Organization (ARO), the Hebrew University, the Technion, among others are steeped with their deep understanding in agriculture, as well as biotech and IT.