ISRAEL - Tomato-Picking Robots

Arno Froese

Growing up in a kibbutz and working in agriculture from a young age, Adi Nir, founder of Israeli startup MetoMotion, left the fields, as many others did, to make a living in the tech industry.

Israeli farmers are also struggling with labor costs. Since few Israelis work in agriculture, growers need to bring foreign workers to Israel to do the tough manual work, but are limited by how many permits the government allocates, driving up salaries.

Realizing that the shortage of manpower in the farming workforce and the related costs were unsustainable, and drawing from his tech experience in the aerospace industry, Nir founded the Yokne’am-based startup MetoMotion in 2017 to develop a robot that can do labor-intensive fruit-picking quickly and efficiently.

“Unlike other robotic or industrial applications, which are characterized by more repetitive tasks, in agriculture every plant is a little bit different. So we came up with a solution based on AI capabilities to look at the plants, understand the structure, environment, how to measure the ripeness, and how to decide if it’s ready,” Nir said.

“More than 30% of the crops grown in greenhouses are tomatoes because we need them for a lot of things, for our salad, pizza, and ketchup,” said Nir. “Our robots are able to reduce the labor needs of harvesting by about 90% and cut production costs by about 50% by saving on manpower costs.”, 2 February 2023

Arno's Commentary

To import farm work laborers depends on the government issuing permits; that seems to be the case in most of the progressive, industrialized countries. Therefore, to build robots that will reduce labor costs by about 90% is but natural.

What does this tell us, biblically speaking? We only have to look at the first pages in our Bible, after Adam and Eve had transgressed God’s command, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” (Genesis 3:19a). That has been the case for almost 6,000 years, until technology raised its head. While tomatoes are still picked by hand, as well as some other fruits and vegetables, the bulk of agricultural produce is seeded, tended, harvested, and prepared for consumption by machines. This has caused an overabundance of food available to most of the world, where industry and technology rules.

The days of, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread” are over. This is another step toward mankind’s independence from God. Such progress is expected to continue until the final days of the apocalypse.

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.

Read more from this author

ContactAbout UsPrivacy and Safety