ISRAEL - Innovations Will Keep the World Fed

Arno Froese

Chemical engineer Dganit Vered discovered something that shifted her entire career focus when she led a multinational R&D team of 250 employees for Israeli seed breeder Hazera from 2015 to 2017.

With the world population expected to reach 10 billion by 2050, growers must produce more food under increasingly difficult conditions: extreme weather and severe shortages of labor, water, pollinating bees and arable land.

Smart Agro Fund now has six portfolio companies and Vered has become familiar with the vast landscape of approximately 350 Israeli ag-tech startups leading the world in areas from precision irrigation to wastewater reuse to seed breeding.

Soil erosion is a major factor in the loss of arable land. Soil that is worn out from intensive growing and chemical spraying produces fewer crops and more carbon emissions.

Surprisingly, agriculture accounts for about 27% of CO2 emissions worldwide.

“Specific crops have specific impacts on the soil and if you keep growing the same thing the soil gets depleted,” says Vered. “Rotating crops like onions and potatoes is very common, but it is not done enough.”

GroundWork BioAg developed a low-cost process to produce mycorrhiza, a fungus that works in symbiosis with plant roots to reduce fertilizer requirements and help plants cope with stressors such as drought.

“Another big problem in world agriculture is the decline of bees. We are very efficiently killing bees and they’re on the edge of extinction,” says Vered.

Polly, a robotic platform from Arugga AI Farming, performs artificial pollination in tomato greenhouses. Riding on tracks between rows of plants, Arugga’s robots use AI to determine each flower’s readiness to be pollinated. This neatly solves two problems: lack of bees and labor.

-www.israel21c.org, 24 April 2022

Arno's Commentary

When we look at the progress made in agriculture, it’s mind-blowing. As we all know, the amount of arable land is limited, but the technology to plant and harvest from the available land has skyrocketed.

FarmersProgress.com states, “50 years of change mean farmers can produce more food and fiber on fewer acres and with fewer nutrient inputs. Corn yields in 1950 averaged 40 bushels per acre. More recently, average corn yield was more than 160 bushels. Soybeans increased from 22 bushels in 1950 to 40-plus bushels in 1980.” 

We also need to mention that most countries a couple of centuries ago, had 90% of the workforce employed in agriculture. Today, in the developed counties, it’s down to 2%. One source states: “In the 1800s, each farmer grew enough food each year to feed three to five people. By 1995, each farmer was feeding 128 people per year.” 

But challenges are evident, as the report indicates. Will the farmers of the world feed 10 billion people by 2050? Our opinion is yes. Contributing toward such development is one chemical engineer, Dganit Vered of Israel, and thousands of other scientists.

However, above and beyond, we have the rock-solid assurance in Genesis 8:22: “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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