“Netafim’s pioneering spirit is what continues to lead the company even today, after 50 years in the market,” explains Netafim’s Yoav Zeif, Head of the Americas and Head of Product Offering and Marketing. We sat with Zeif towards the launch of the company’s new product line at Agritech this week, to get his perspective on the direction in which the company and technology are moving.
Drip irrigation is today recognized as the most advanced and efficient form of irrigation in the world. Netafim, which pioneered the invention 50 years ago, is the leader in the field, with 2 million customers in 110 countries, and 150 billion drippers produced since 1965. However up until today, this form of irrigation was usually limited to fruit orchards and vegetable fields, due mainly to cost considerations.
“The world is facing a major food shortage challenge, and we have been thinking a lot about how we can make an impact in this arena,” says Zeif. The conclusion was entering the basic food crops arena, such as corn, sugar cane and rice. “The challenge was to create a version of the drip irrigation technology which would be cost-effective and tailored to this type of crop. This is how Aries™ was born.”
Aries™ is the first product in the company’s line of next-gen drippers, to be followed by Orion™. The next-gen drippers irrigate at lower flow rates and higher flow uniformity. Overall the new line reduces the investment required for installation, and cuts labor costs by irrigating large plots while minimizing in-field shifting to further enhance grower profitability. “These advantages make the next-gen drippers a viable option for basic food crop growers,” concludes Zeif.
This new line of drippers is not the first time Netafim has tackled the food shortage crisis. The company also develops kits for small farmers, to help them increase water efficiency and improve yield. “There are 500 million small farmers in the world,” explains Zeif, “they have limited resources, and they are the most vulnerable to climate change and water shortage issues. We’re proud to be helping them become sustainable, and profitable.”
Another thing Zeif is proud of is the extensive on-site support Netafim provides its customers. “Netafim is active in 110 countries. We have 16 factories, six of these in the Americas, and we have a lot of people in the field, dedicated to providing support and knowledge to customers, including pre-sale and post-sale. Netafim maintains a team of agronomists who specialize in every type of crop, in each of the countries in which we are active.”
Netafim’s CEO Ran Maidan concludes with his perspective on the industry and the new product line: “With the world population expected to grow rapidly over the next few decades, there is a need to significantly increase food production. Our next-generation low-flow drippers are part of the global effort to fight food scarcity. Improving crop yields regardless of water quality while lowering dependence on water and other resources, the new line is helping us revolutionize irrigation, shape the future of agriculture, and make the world a more sustainable place.”
Agritech visitors can find out more about Netafim, including its next-gen dripper line, by visiting the Company at the Israel Trade Fairs & Convention Center in Tel Aviv, Hall 1, Booth #30, on April 28-30, between 10:00-18:00. The Netafim booth includes a huge field-crop wall irrigated by Netafim’s smart drip solutions, and will be the site of several daily 10-minute talks delivered by company experts.