A Thirst for Water & Technology: Africa Searches for Israeli Innovation

Facing significant challenges with respect to irrigation and water management, strain improvement, Africa, south of the Sahara Desert, is fertile ground for Israeli agrotech. The IMPROVATE conference invites Israeli and African companies to present their developments to investors and government entities, promoting fruitful and lifesaving cooperations

Guy Ronen, in conjunction with IMPROVATE
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A Thirst for Water & Technology: Africa Searches for Israeli InnovationCredit: Oded Karni
Guy Ronen, in conjunction with IMPROVATE
Promoted Content

For Kenya, a country coping with a demographic surge and a severe lack of protein, increasing its milk production is an urgent national priority. Israeli food security company AgriGreen is establishing agricultural projects across Africa and Asia, including in Kenya, bringing with it smart dairy farming technologies, such as health monitors, and knowledge on: nutrition, yields, and estrus cycles, covering all veterinary and genetic aspects of the milk production process, including nutritional processing. “From a yield of roughly 5-6 daily liters per cow, we have succeeded in approximating an average of roughly 40 liters a day, while producing healthier milk,” says Dor Moran, the Founder and CEO of AgriGreen, who presented his company’s technologies at IMPROVATE’s last two conferences. The company additionally promoted healthier and more nutritious vegetable growth and greenhouse flower growth, for exportation purposes. “The solutions are Israeli but are never generic – we always adapt them to the local environment, climate, workforce, and specific goals.”

South of the Sahara Desert, Africa is hungry and thirsty. Millions are dying from water-related illnesses, and one of every five locals suffers from malnutrition. The continent is currently unable to feed its residents, a reality that will only worsen in the face of climate change and the rapid and natural birth rate. As such, the continent is in desperate need of integrating technology capable of making its agricultural yields more efficient, upgrading its energy sources (the biofuel industry), and developing water desalination, storage, and delivery systems. The shift from traditional to smart agricultural practices is the key to food security and is expected to be a central player in global food security in the 21st Century.

From technological innovation and acquired knowledge, to its success in transforming a water-strapped country with over 60% of its lands being deserts into a global leader in water management, and the recycling and desalination of sea water for agricultural purposes–these reasons (and others) position Israel as a global powerhouse within the agrotech and food-tech industries. The country’s water recycling and agricultural efficiency rates are considered among the highest in the world, while its water loss is the lowest in the world – only 3% of “sources,” as opposed to the average 15% in developed countries and 35% in developing countries. The field of water management is on the rise across global economies, with returns of 3-5 dollars for every dollar invested, and an overall market worth $600 billion.

Connecting the agrotech triad’s dots

The aggrotech industry is much like a triangle, with planes formed by yields enriched by technological innovation, near endless demand, and funding channels. That being said, connections between each plane are never a given; the process of connecting the dots between them can, at times, be lengthy and highly involved. To expedite and drive efficiency throughout this process, entrepreneurs Irina Nevzlin and Ronit Hasin Hochman founded a company called IMPROVATE. The company makes connections between suppliers and governments & interested entities, guides Israeli companies that succeed in creating interest, cuts down on extraneous red tape and ensures that the deals bear fruit. Fruit that can improve lives and promote living.

IMPROVATE leverages its vast network of connections in target countries to create the platform for each initial meeting in conference form. During the conference, companies are given an opportunity to present their offering to potential customers and sources of funding: governments, corporations, professional associations, banks, United Nations agencies, and international investment funds. The constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic forced IMPROVATE to improvise and create a hybrid conference format: representatives of the Israeli technology companies visit a recording studio in order to discuss their developments, record a video, or broadcast a presentation. The other side “attends” remotely and online, while remaining an active participant: they ask questions, make comments, and take part in discussions.

Ronit Hasin HochmanCredit: Yanai Yechiel

Hasin Hochman, a Founding Partner and the CEO of IMPROVATE, indicates that the format has proven to be effective and successful, and has even expanded the conference’s audience, thanks to their accessible livestreams and extensive media coverage in the target countries. “This is an excellent platform for networking, quick penetration of markets, and long-term partnerships. In just a few minutes, IMPROVATE can save years’ worth of legwork for the companies, thanks to our partners across the world.”

From drip irrigation to renewable energy

The 3rd IMPROVATE conference will take place on December 10th, 2020 and will focus on the development of the agriculture and water industries in Africa. It will cover technological solutions for increasing yields, funding for projects, and the presentation of training and development programs for governments. Companies with proven experience and the capability to immediately implement their innovations in the fields of precise agriculture, water management, fertilization, seeds, crop-growing practices, and more will present their solutions at the conference:

Metzer, a company that develops drip irrigation systems that efficiently water crops, even using low-quality or wastewater – a current and critical issue in the agriculture industry, especially in arid lands. The ability to engage in profitable, continuous, and reliable agriculture under challenging land and water conditions significantly contributes to the continued existence and economies of developing regions. In addition, the company focuses on creating a long-term balance between nature, environmental protection, and considerations for future generations.

Agrigo is a global EPC contractor and integrator for hi-tech agricultural turnkey solutions in livestock, greenhouses and aquaculture with a focus on food security: affordable high-quality nutritious protein product.  AgriGo works hand in hand with its local partners and clients to create and launch a smart intensive agricultural integration with high social impact to empower local African farmers: designs tailor-made concepts with all necessary engineering, construction and expert management solutions to optimize production, adapts cutting-edge technologies and trains local professionals to become agricultural experts.

Another company is Keilot, a company that specializes in the assimilation and sale of technologies that provide clean and accessible electricity, water, heating, and energy to farmers and locals who live “off the grid,” – an issue that has become especially critical in light of COVID-19. The company uses a financial & marketing platform, designed to distribute the technologies, most of which are Israeli. Through Keilot’s efficient distribution system and Kenyan subsidiary, any farmer can receive quick and professional operational and financial assistance on subjects that are near and dear to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this way, Keilot has created a local market of customers capable to assuming responsibility for the quality of their lives, without having to wait for government aid.

Davik is a world leading adhesive solution provider, specializing in a wide range of adhesive tapes. Among its products, Davik developed CATCHY, as a new category of adhesive solution serving farmers growing indoors in greenhouses or nurseries of any kind. Davik has developed a unique, long lasting, dry adhesive which captures flying insect pests. The product is especially designed for mass trapping of insects, detecting and monitoring local insect populations for early detection and this way also reduces insecticide residues on crop due to less spraying.

Saffron-Tech specializes in technological innovation for agriculture in general, and vertical farming in particular. The Company can produce a range of crops, including highly valuable agricultural crops in a controlled, economical, and efficient manner, regardless of environmental conditions.

ISM will also be taking part in the conference – an aggregate that is mainly active in East Africa and supplies environmental solutions to the region, focusing on renewable energy and the establishment of green transportation. One example from the past month: a company that distributes cooking gas requested a few terminals in the field. ISM provided the company with a unique and integrated solution that included additional electric tools for the distribution of purification of water to people within the terminal. Even more impressive is the fact that the solution was generated from the company’s own resources and was based on solar energy.

Haifa Group will also present its technology at the conference. The company invests heavily in the development of advanced agricultural technologies and markets crop treatment of the highest quality and greatest efficiency to farmers around the world. Motti Levin, CEO, of the company said ahead of the conference that through its innovative solutions and advanced fertilization methods Haifa has an important part in an effort to increase agricultural crops.”

HomeBiogas develops and manufactures prefabricated biogas systems for households and small farms, providing access to clean, renewable energy around the globe. In Africa, HomeBiogas is changing lives in rural communities that are dependent on cooking with charcoal and firewood. 

“I saw how much Israel has to offer with my own eyes”

Monsiapile Kajimbwa

Those slated to participate in the conference include Tanzania’s Foreign Minister, Ministers of Agriculture, Fishing and Water from Kenya and Congo, and representatives of the Clinton Foundation (CDI). The latter invests in the continent and acts to strengthen local farmers, unite those from weak and vulnerable families under the umbrella of community farms, and make relevant markets more accessible.

“The agricultural sector makes up a huge portion of the region’s economy – in Tanzania, for example, it makes up a quarter of the GDP – but it is completely dependent on rainfall,” says Mr. Monsiapile Kajimbwa, a representative of the foundation established by the former US President. “Irrigation and water distribution equipment, technology and agronomic tools capable of optimizing yields – these are essential to the transformation of this sector into one that is innovative and stable.” He concretely mentions the high demand for drip irrigation systems in Tanzania’s avocado fields, for the purpose of improving strains and drastically increasing mango and avocado yields.

IMPROVATE’s vision is to build long-term bridges between hundreds of hi-tech companies and markets across the developing world. The company’s founding conference, which covered the topic of food security in Africa, was led by Tony Blair who said that “I have seen, with my own eyes, just how much Israel has to offer, leveraging its own experience in making the desert bloom and building a flourishing agriculture field under complex conditions.” There is no doubt that Israeli companies can help African countries transform the traditional agricultural ecosystem into one that is more efficient, less dependent on external aid, resilient in the face of crises, and able to export large quantities of produce. The upcoming conference is expected to accelerate this trend and expose Israeli companies to the myriad of opportunities that await them in Africa, just south of the Sahara.

IMPROVATE’s next conference: “From crisis to innovation: creating a new innovative world" will take place on Jauary 21st 2021 and will address the challenges and opportunities in Europe in exiting this global crisis, from medicine, to transportation, to tourism, education and fintech.  Companies that have innovative technology and want to present them to governments and investors can contact IMPROVATE at: info@improvate.com