The malady of small and marginal farmers has not been clearly understood; otherwise, lasting and meaningful solutions by now could have been found and redressed. Briefly, the bane of Agriculturists is:
- Small holdings make agriculture uneconomic so long as sub-division and fragmentation of lands continue.
- Perpetual indebtedness of small farmers driving them to a poorer quality of life.
- Inability to procure quality seeds and fertilizers from the Government or open market due to admixture.
- Lack of water and poor yields during rain-fed agriculture.
- Inability to market their produce to recover costs sometimes, and wafer-thin margins at other times. Both do not correlate with the input costs of the farming activity.
- With Climate change they become more helpless with predictions on weather, rainfall, soil degradation, pest attacks, and high input costs.
The proposed solutions:
- Israel is quietly intensifying cooperation in agriculture, helping farmers multiply their income with better practices and yields, and choosing the right crops or vegetables that are boosting bilateral ties.
- Open additional Centers of Excellence (COEs) where Israeli farm technology can be implemented considering all factors to report success.
- Apart from the agro technical knowledge, Israel has a business management approach on how to manage a farm, post-harvest, and how to market your produce. They are looking at farmers who can invest in packing houses, trucks, cold chains, and marketing.
- Cooperation from Israel would also extend to satellite imaging and geographic information systems.
- One of the solutions would be to engage a corporation to partner with a large number of farmers in a village and make them shareholders.
- Engage professionals to do agriculture based on soil, water, high value produce and establish market linkages. Share profits as shareholders and pay them wages by engaging them as labor – that could be a Win-Win for both.
- Evidence-based precision agriculture is key to the success of Israeli technologies around the globe. Collaboration with companies that can aggregate 10000 farmers for each technology/product adoption for 2 to 3 crop seasons and assure positive impact with evidence will be a game changer, in making it work.
- Integrating with FPOs is a good model to scale where the time to market is faster for adoption with these cooperatives for new technologies.
Some of the Israeli companies who can help/support in mitigating the same:
CropX – is an easy-to-use yet powerful agronomic farm management system that connects farm data, real-time conditions, and agronomic knowledge to guide successful and sustainable farming, while aggregating all agronomic farm data in one place for easy tracking and sharing.
Agrowing Ltd. – is a world-leading provider of high-resolution, high-quality multispectral sensing solutions, which bring the aerial precision agriculture sensing to the next and significantly higher level. The company is focused on supplying growers and farmers with solutions, that provide them with immediate in-the-field accurate actionable data.
Netafim – A pioneer and leader in the field of precision irrigation, Israel’s Netafim works to promote tailor-made irrigation solutions to save water around the globe. The company offers a unique sustainable agricultural approach that allows nutrient and water applications at the right time and place to optimize growing conditions.
SupPlant – Israeli firm SupPlant is focused on digitally informing irrigation systems worldwide. Its system combines plant sensing, artificial intelligence, and data accumulated over 1,500 growing seasons to provide farmers with personalized irrigation recommendations amidst global water crises.
Phytech – With desertification on the rise, there is a pressing need to maximize the land we do have. Companies like Israel’s Phytech are aiming to do just that by creating a decision support system designed to help growers manage and optimize agricultural production. Employing an IoT and plant-AI platform that includes a series of unique sensors on plants, fruits, and irrigation systems, Phytech addresses challenges like drought, by collecting real-time data to provide better and higher yields.
TarriTech – Has developed a unique delivery system, which effectively and repeatedly operates to prevent the decay of fresh vegetables, fruit, and herbs. Before its storage or transport, fresh produce is exposed for a short period to a controlled profile of volatile compounds, released by our delivery system from a mixture of several essential oils. The selected essential oils, each with a specific biological activity, when combined, prevent the decay caused by several types of microorganisms. The system is tailored to specific crops and designed to integrate into existing packing house processes.
There are many more Israeli technologies to be explored, which can help improve the soil, yield, post-harvest, and supply chain solutions, which can benefit the farmers.