Agriculture and processing companies in Israel are adapting to the new technologies, while Israel’s energy and environment minister has warned against the “tipping point” of rising production.
On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the country was preparing to launch a new industry, as part of an ambitious economic transformation plan.
“It is the right time to create a new sector that will help the country grow,” he said, “and will be one of the most advanced industries in the world.”
The country is now in the process of transforming its agricultural industry from a highly mechanised, labour-intensive process to one based on renewable and environmentally friendly technologies, according to an official who spoke to The Jerusalem Report on condition of anonymity.
In addition to developing the technologies for the new industry in Israel, the minister also said the government is in the midst of setting up a regional and international network of cooperatives that will work together to make the transition to the next phase.
“The cooperatives will support the creation of a new and more efficient agricultural industry in the region,” he added.
The minister said the goal of the project is to create the “largest and most innovative and efficient agroprocessing system in the Middle East” that would allow Israel to export the produce of its agricultural lands and to compete with the world in global food markets.
According to the plan, the new agrochemical industry would be able to export 10 billion liters of water per year, to meet demand for drinking water and to increase production in the agricultural sector by 50 per cent.
The government has set aside more than 40 billion shekels ($1.6 billion) for the project.
While the new sector is being created, it’s not clear how much water it will produce.
According to the agriculture ministry, the current production capacity is about 6 billion litres of water a year, while water conservation is another 1.4 billion litre a year.
“Water is our lifeblood,” the minister said.
In the meantime, the plan also requires that Israel set up its first plant for producing water, which will be used to provide irrigation and water purification in the northern Galilee and in the south.
“We are trying to reach the goal for this plant, which is the first and only plant to be built in Israel for producing and using water,” the agricultural ministry said.
According the plan announced by Netanyahu, the agroprocessors will also be able turn waste water into biofuels, which are a major source of food in Israel.
According a report by the Jerusalem Report, Israeli agroprocessor Sembina recently opened a plant in the Gaza Strip, and it plans to export its waste water to other countries, including Turkey and China.
According a spokesperson for the company, “the project will also produce products in a sustainable way”.
In the past, Israeli companies were often accused of dumping waste water, and the country’s water agencies and regulators have been slow to implement new measures, as they were under pressure to meet the Israeli government’s target to use half the countrys water for irrigation.
The agriculture ministry also said it plans on building the first plant that can process and process wastewater, and that the company will soon begin to process wastewater from farmers.
However, according a report from The Jerusalem report, Israel’s water sector has become one of its worst performing sectors in the developed world, with an average of just 0.1 per cent of the country receiving any water treatment.
In the past year, the Israeli agricultural ministry has been struggling to meet its targets, due to the ongoing drought and the severe weather in the country.
According, the ministry, Israel has not been able to meet all its water demands because of the drought, and its reservoirs have been depleted.