As the statement of last year Agritech goes “The State of Israel is one of the world’s leading pioneers in today’s agro-technology industry. Necessity – the lack of natural resources, shortage of water, and the scarcity of arable land led to the development of successful methods, technologies and products in a multitude of agricultural fields.
Modern-day Israel is no less expert at ingathering its food reserves and Israeli agricultural experts have invented technologies for post-harvest preservation that are used around the world. For example, there is the GrainPro Cocoon, a giant bag-like storage device that helps communities and countries in the developing world avoid damage to their stores of grains and pulse.
Israel’s Volcani Institute (also the Agricultural Research Organization or ARO), the research arm of the Ministry of Agriculture, is a pioneer in post-harvest innovations such as a chemical free method of fumigating potatoes to significantly decrease germination while in storage (the secret ingredient is mint oil), increasing pomegranate shelf-life to almost four months while maintaining nutritional content using micro-perforated modified atmosphere bags, and heat treatments that solved the problem of unattractive-looking onions and peppers.
Other recent ARO innovations include methods for prolonging the shelf life of Granny Smith apples and the development of special high-protein grains for animal feed that can increase milk yields.
Post-harvest research concentrates on protection, preservation, treatment, processing, storage and transportation of fresh, dried and processed foods. This research is conducted utilizing disciplines that include physiology, physics, chemistry and biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, and entomology. The research activities related to post-harvest science of fresh produce are concerned mainly with maintaining the quality of fresh fruits, vegetables, and floral and ornamental products after harvest, in order to improve marketability for export, even after extensive storage periods.
Apart from governmental research, many companies like Pimi are taking the problems of food wastage head on. Today Wal-Mart, SunPacific, Pepsico, FritoLay and BASF are testing Pimi Agro CleanTech’s technology to keep food from rotting before reaching the market.
The company, Pimi Agro CleanTech, has a unique, environmentally friendly line of products to keep fruits and vegetables fresh for as long as 10 weeks, drastically reducing deterioration during transport. In India where about one-third of food never makes it to the marketplace;this is exactly what is needed. Spoilage, disease and transportation issues whittle away producers’ and marketers’ profits – and raise consumer prices.
Another notable innovation came from a company R.O.P, which is bringing a new approach to produce packaging: one package from farm to supermarket shelf. Minimizing food waste through technology and experience is what R.O.P. is all about. R.O.P. has been developing packaging solutions since 1970. According to company, only when you really know fruits and vegetables, and packaging, can you provide optimal packaging solutions.
There are also turnkey solution providers from Israel who develops, provides and builds innovative post-harvest technologies that help growers, processors, distributors, shippers and receivers to sort, pack, cool and store perishable goods: vegetables, fruits, flowers, meat and seafood like Assa Aharoni Consulting Engineers Ltd., BT 9 which are working globally in cold chain delivery and execution.
Adequate application of required and recommended post-harvest treatments not only minimizes post-harvest losses but also maximizes producer profits, and results in better appearing, more nutritious fruits and vegetables on consumer plates. This is exactly what is needed in India right now.
For more information: