Thursday, November 7, 2013

The world Ag-rees, that Israel is a leader in agriculture

Shalom faithful readers! It's been too long since I posted here. An onslaught of stories in my inbox about Israeli innovation in the field of agriculture was just what I needed to get back on the ball. Let's explore what's new:

First up, is an agreement between Japan and Israel to join forces on agricultural R&D. Both nations have shared interests in finding ways to get more production out of the land, as Japan is also has relatively limited amount of arable land on which to sustain its population. The Japanese, which are known for their penchant for seafood, are also looking to learn from Israeli aquaculture techniques, waste water treatment for irrigation, among other areas that the Jewish nation has extensive experience with.

Next, a friend sent me this Indigogo campaign to help the Jewish community in Uganda to develop their agricultural ability and enhance local food security. Israeli and Ugandan scientists are working together to explore ways to harvest the excess precipitation that falls during the rainy season, in order to supplement irrigation during the dry season, and thereby ensuring reliable food production all year.

Perhaps the Ugandan community should be in touch with Amir Yecheili: high school science teacher by day, storm water collection expert by night, or at least in the afternoons when he's done teaching. Amir figured out how to outfit public schools in Israel with rain catchment contraptions that will provide the buildings enough water for 100 days each year. That's almost 30% of the school year that the water  to flush toilets and water gardens will be provided for free. His efforts to bring this technology to schools, and fight through the inevitable red tape to get it implemented, also raised the awareness of water issues for the students, who by their own admission are much more likely to notice and report leaky faucets or running toilets. This is very significant, because as Amir mentioned, one day these kids will be in positions of power across the country and will have a sustainable mindset that is often lacking today. Even if these kids don't go on to become mayors or otherwise work for local governments, they still will have influence over their own families, and thereby be able to perpetuate this ideology.

Lastly - Texas A&M has announced its intention to open a branch of the university in Israel. While I didn't see any specifics about the courses being offered, it doesn't take a leap of faith to assume that there will be some interesting research coming out of the agricultural institution. 

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