Oded Forer, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, stated: “Innovation is the solution to realizing the agricultural potential in Israel with the help of Israeli solutions. Innovative solutions and those already in use today allow the farmer to increase the crop per dunam and save on his expenses. We at the Ministry of Agriculture see great importance in increasing agricultural produce and in stimulating agriculture. This support initiative is another step in fostering a thriving agricultural industry in Israel, which can provide food security for all of us.”
As part of a series of support initiatives to Israeli farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development will invest NIS 30 million this year as part of two different grants: The first includes a comprehensive acceleration program of a scope of NIS 20 million. And its purpose is to encourage the assimilation of sophisticated and innovative technologies, especially those that are unfamiliar, and have been invented or imported into the country in the last three years. The second support, amounting to NIS 10 million and aims to encourage farmers to purchase mechanization, automation and technologies that will be integrated into their farm. The new supports are part of a broad program promoted by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Oded Forer, to invest in innovation and R&D to promote Israeli agriculture and strengthen local farmers, which will be an engine of growth for the entire economy, as part of the effort to produce food security for Israeli residents.
The acceleration procedure is intended for the implementation of the most innovative technologies that are not known and have been invented or imported into the country in the last three years and have successfully passed the stage of development and proof of commercial feasibility. A similar program that was run in 2021 was a great success and under it, NIS 75 million was distributed to more than 300 farmers for the integration of technologies on their farms. One of the main technologies, was investing in a fruit wall – a technology that allows for vertical cultivation of fruit, which allows both savings in production costs, and increase the yield and quality of the fruit.
The technologies that will be approved for a grant to farmers under the program will be from the agro-tech industry that offers solutions to farmers based on technologies from the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), image processing (IoT), multiple data processing (Big Data) and robotics, as well as hardware or software systems. Industry, such as: information services that include decoded satellite imagery, drone photography including decoding or transmitting sensors used to control irrigation, fertilization, spraying and cultivation. All of these are able to increase the quality and quantity of agricultural produce on Israeli farms.
According to the outline, the Ministry will subsidize up to 50% of the total approved investment with the amount of support being determined by a team of experts from the Ministry of Agriculture, who will score the applications according to parameters of initial application in Israel, product innovation level, integration potential in the Israeli economy. The recompense for raising the agricultural output and the potential for exporting the technology abroad.
In addition, the purchase of Israeli developments will entitle the applicant to an additional 5% in funding, in order to encourage the choice of a development product from the Israeli market. After examinations by the experts, the appropriate applications will be examined by the Technological Innovation Support Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, which will determine eligibility for funding and the amount of support for the applicant.
The second support initiative will be granted to the applicant, provided that the means of mechanization has been developed or imported to Israel in the last decade and has also passed the stage of development and proof of their functioning. The outline of the program encourages the purchase of mechanization tools that support soil conservation interfaces and constitute manpower savings such as: Harvesting and gathering machines, planting machines, climate control systems, energy saving systems, hydroponic systems, land tilling tools and sorting systems in packing houses.
Under the program, the Ministry will subsidize up to 25% for the purchase of technological means, submits an application to purchase technology manufactured in Israel, will receive an additional 5% added to the grant rate, in order to encourage local production and development.
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