Overseas visitors abound at the Agritech 2009 Exhibition which opened in Tel Aviv earlier this week, the Jerusalem Post reports. Delegations from every continent except Antarctica came to examine the best of Israeli agricultural technology.
Visitors wandered the halls and the outside exhibition area at the 17th annual fair, looking at irrigation systems, pipes, sprinklers, a vegetable oil-powered tractor, fans, and all of the other myriad technology that forms the basis of modern agriculture.
Perhaps more than other sectors, agriculture has been greatly affected by changing climate conditions. Whereas water scarcity has always been an issue in Israel, it now affects farmers everywhere.
In response to customer demand and their own initiatives, some of the major companies have begun developing ever more advanced irrigation management systems, which significantly reduce water use. "Drip irrigation only accounts for 5% of irrigation worldwide, but we're seeing more of an interest as water resources become scarcer," said one manufacturer.
One company has begun focusing on castor bean hybrids to make them competitive with oil as a bio-fuel. While castor bean oil cannot generally compete with petroleum price-wise, Castor beans are not food crops and can be grown in marginal areas, thus removing the competition with food crops. Previous generations of bio-fuel based on corn or soy drove food prices higher at some points.
Over 4,000 overseas visitors are expected, including several agricultural ministers, and for deals worth $40 million to be negotiated over the course of the event.
For more details see http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1239710873627&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull