Farmers in East Africa Improve Local Agriculture with Israeli Technology
Farmers in East Africa Improve Local Agriculture with Israeli Technology and Expertise Many leading Israeli manufacturers supply agricultural needs and equipment (e.g., Netafim, Hazera Genetics) in East Africa and especially in Kenya.
Modern seeds, efficient irrigation and safe pest control all constitute part of a holistic approach adopted by one Israeli company, Amiram Kenya.
Even in this region with its lush green landscape and abundant water sources like the Nile River and Lake Victoria, Israeli technologies such as drip irrigation are vital for more efficient soil hydration. Netafim’s managing director for Africa noted the growing importance of the African market for irrigation equipment even though saving water may not always be the top priority but it does offer many more advantages.
Amiran Kenya now focuses on small farmers with limited access to advanced farming technology by offering them its Farmer’s Kit, thereby supplying them with everything they need, from seeds to fertilizer.
The company has sold 7,500 kits since 2009 with a 75 percent success rate in terms of a return on the investment or expected crop yields. Although this profit-making company focuses on conventional farming methods, Amiran also offers its Organic Farmer’s Kit at a slightly higher cost, but these constitute a tiny part of the company’s overall sales.
However, John Cheburet, who hosts radio programs promoting organic practices in Kenya, warns against the long-term impact of chemical inputs on the soil structure.
He blames this widespread use of chemicals in agriculture on the intensive marketing tactics used by salespeople striving to sell instead of teaching the farmers the “bigger picture of what farming is all about”. In reply, Ami Ben-Israel, Amoran’s organic farming representative notes that while progress is being made to introduce more organic farming these efforts are hindered by the farmers’ lack of knowledge about organic practices and the limited market outside Nairobi.