SIGNAL Note 8

June152016

Israeli green Tech and agricultural advancements: Opportunities for Cooperation

As the aims of China’s 13th 5-year plan have indicated, environmentally conscious solutions which promote green development, increasing agricultural yield and efficiency are a significant priority. The shifts towards ‘green tech’ developments correspond with China’s desire to improve environmental standards while effectively developing its vast agricultural sector at a critical juncture in its trajectory into a ‘moderately prosperous society’. In this SIGNAL note we will address some of the most significant, cutting edge green and agricultural advancements developed in Israel which could provide new and innovative solutions to China’s food security.

To express how these important advancements could shape the future of Chinese agricultural production, this note will detail how Israeli breakthroughs in grain storage and biological pest control have led to increased yields, while decreasing reliance on dangerous chemicals. In short, we intend to illustrate how critical developments by Israeli innovators could promote increased food security while forming essential peer-to-peer bonds between Israeli and Chinese policy makers, an essential element of the Belt & Road initiative.

Case Study: Grain Storage

According to some estimates “as much as 50 percent of every grain harvest and 100% of every pulse harvest is lost to pests and mold”.” As such, it is of no surprise that many have attempted to address this issue down the production line- from planting to harvest- with minimal breakthrough. One such company which has achieved noted success in preventing grain loss and preventing pest and mold infestations is Grain Pro Inc., which markets the Israeli designed ‘GrainPro cocoon’. As with many innovative approaches to critical global problems, the advances made in Israeli food security were pushed by dual motivation- to prevent the loss of crops and while providing food products that meet Jewish kosher standards (which opposes eating insects). This covalence of interests provided the catalyst to take on the significant challenge of global food loss while providing new and progressive solutions to grain degradation.

Many factors can lead to food degradation, chief among them being insect infestation and the cataclysmic effects of mold. Israel has learned that very simple and straightforward techniques can provide the most impactful results in deceasing food loss. In the case of the ‘GrainPro cocoon’, significant breakthroughs were achieved by removing moisture and sealing the product in an airtight environment. By preventing outside pests from infesting the grain, farmers have realized seismic increases in total viable crops from harvest to point of sale. By prefacing the sealing process with an intense drying process, GrainPro has been able to decrease grain loss while providing a cheap and effective method of mitigating the adverse effects of mold and insect destruction to crop production at scale.

Case Study: Biological Pest Control

As agricultural demand increases globally, the desire to prevent the adverse effects of insect infestation will inherently be given greater priority by governments around the world. With the increased pressure of food demand in growing populations, many have turned to toxic chemicals to prevent food loss. Although this can increase yield, the consequences of major investments in pesticides can increase costs (such as in health care), while providing a product with heavy saturation of dangerous chemicals. To combat this dual threat, Israeli technology developed at Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu has created a safe and effective method to prevent food loss and insect infestation.

BioBee, Biological solutions LLC, has invested heavily in natural means to prevent crop loss through developments in predatory insect technology. Through 20+ years of R& D, BioBees has effectively formed solutions which significantly decrease the harmful effects of insect infestation while providing a chemical free, and environmentally conscious approach to this serious problem in global food security.

Relevance for China?

As China modernizes its agricultural sector, the high cost associated with product loss must be mitigated to ensure domestic production levels are not affected. BioBees and GrainPro have illustrated a new approach to solving these serious problems by significantly increasing yield while preventing environmental degradation. In essence these innovative Israeli-engineered solutions to food loss present a low cost, minimally invasive method to prevent unnecessary product loss. These solutions also help facilitate a shift in the thought process in how yield can be expanded without harmful effects to the environment generally associated with these issues.

In order to meet the goals set in the 13th 5-year plan, China will be considering how to utilize creative solutions to difficult issues. In the field of agricultural production, Israeli innovations have set new benchmarks for low cost, environmentally friendly and critical advancements aimed at increasing productivity. If applied to the Chinese markets, Israeli generated agricultural technologies could facilitate increased food stability and safety, at minimal cost and environmental impact.

Relevance to Sino-Israeli relations?

As China continues to develop its agricultural infrastructure, the evolving needs of the industry will be addressed to ensure high levels of domestic food production while preventing excessive waste. In utilizing Israeli technology, the Chinese market has a two-fold benefit; by investing in the creative and innovative technology developed in Israel, China has the opportunity to address its domestic food security and safety concerns while promoting high level academic and technological dialog.

In addition to building peer-to-peer bonds, a critical element of President Xi’s Belt & Road initiative, agricultural technology provides an apolitical in road to enhance connections between the Jewish State to the Middle Kingdom. In forming relations built on core areas of strategic concern, Israel and China have the opportunity to strengthen their cooperation while providing tangible and practical benefit to both peoples. Agricultural tech presents this avenue to promote increased exchange of ideas and products which could provide closer cooperation between China and Israel leading to win-win benefits.

Published: 15-06-2016