Tour Insights - Israel with Kerry Lonergan

If you have a burning desire to learn about cutting-edge agricultural and water management practises from world industry leaders, this technical Ag tour is for you.

Kerry Lonergan

Quadrant Australia is hosting a 14-day Ag Innovation Tour to Israel in December this year. To be led by the charismatic and knowledgeable, Kerry Lonergan, the tour concept was his brainchild. A leading senior agricultural journalist with ABC Rural & Landline, Kerry’s work has taken him to the “land of milk & honey” on several occasions and he’s keen to share his insight and experiences with others.

As a country, Israel has some interesting statistics. It is only 420km long, 110km wide (at widest point) and 15km wide (at narrowest). Tasmania is 3.3 times larger in landmass. Half the country's 22,000 square kilometres are desert. Most of the 100mm rainfall received on average, occurs in just three or four months each year.

The Israelis are very proud of their agriculture, considering more than 50% of the country is desert. They have been remarkably innovative to the point, where they are now 97% self-sufficient in producing the food they eat. Agriculture is 4% of GDP and 3 – 4% of exports.

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Tel Aviv is the launch pad for the tour. Seven nights will be spent here as a base, plus four nights in Jerusalem. Tel Aviv has a cosmopolitan lifestyle, with many locals whom speak English. On arrival, for those with energy and in need of a leg-stretch, visit the HaCarmel Market. A vibrant, bustling marketplace with lively stall holders spruiking their wares. Dried fruits, exotic spices, fresh farm products, through to clothing and electronics. Soak up the atmosphere: the sights, smells and sounds of the Middle East.

Quadrant Australia Ag Innovation Israel TourHit the ground running on the first full day. You will be enlightened by the ag startup companies and their production efficiency solutions. Meet some of the brains behind these companies attacking significant problems faced by agriculture today.

Visit AUSTRADE’s Tel Aviv Landing Pad (SOSA). Landing Pads provide market-ready startups and scale-ups. SOSA facilitates in-market business development, introductions to investors, mentor networks and strategic partnership opportunities. It supports Australian entrepreneurs, who wish to go global. Meet with SOSA team members to learn more about Australian startups, who are accessing the global market and Israeli innovation ecosystem.

The headquarters of ADAMA is located at Airport City, a global manufacturer and distributor of crop protection solutions. It plays a key role in the effort to increase food production to feed a growing world population. You may be familiar with ADAMA Australia, known for crop protection products and services, including herbicides, plant growth regulators and seed treatments. The company supplies efficient solutions to Australian farmers across the full farming value-chain, including novel agricultural technologies, and complementary non-crop businesses.

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Next, be prepared to be challenged by Roots - Sustainable Agricultural Technologies (Roots SAT) Ltd. This company is developing and commercialising disruptive, modular, cutting-edge technologies to address critical problems being faced by agriculture today. This includes plant climate management via root zone temperature optimisation, and the shortage of water for irrigation.

Quadrant Australia Ag Innovation Israel TourIn the following days as the tour unfolds, discover many of Israel’s ag industries. Flower farms, dairying, vegetable seed production, fruit and vegetables, aquaculture and even alligators! Compare Kibbutz agricultural management with private Moshav family farms and corporate companies. Also meet with the Israeli Cattle Breeders Association based in the north of Israel: Golan Heights and Sea of Galilee area.

The dairy at Kibbutz Mevo Hama incorporates the world class Afimilk system. An automated modular system for intensive dairy farm management, Afimilk provides fully integrated software system, which collect information about each cow. The data is stored, analysed and provides management reports. Farmers receive real-time information about their herd’s health and fertility, milk quality and productivity, and other critical factors.

Other highlights include opportunities to meet with researchers at universities and R&D stations. The Hebrew University - The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment has been a major contributor to Israel's remarkable achievements in agriculture, through its ground-breaking research and education of generations of students.

Quadrant Australia Ag Innovation Israel TourGreenhouse and fertigation equipment company, Netafim will host an informative session on its latest drip irrigation technologies, at Kibbutz Magal. Kibutz Magal produces olives, almonds, tomatoes, avocado and grapes. In the early 1960’s, Israeli water engineer, Simcha Blass discovered the essence of drip irrigation virtually by chance. Coming across the principle that a slow, balanced drip effect led to remarkable plant growth, he created a drip-based tube that changed the course of irrigation forever.

Israel is a world leader in water conservation, recycling and management. Of their sewage and household water treated, 90% of this recycled water is used again in agriculture. With the current record-breaking drought being experienced in Australia, this knowledge is insightful and empowering for us to learn.

Israel has five massive desalination plants on the Mediterranean coast. Today, from a total population of 9 million, 6 million people receive their drinking water from these plants. The Hadera Desalination Plant is the flagship of the desalination industry, providing clean, portable water to over one million people, alone. Hadera is recognised as one of the world’s leading saltwater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination plants, setting a new standard. Hadera now has one of the lowest-ever costs for high-quality desalinated water, in such projects worldwide. Originally, desal water was considered expensive at $7 - $8 per cubic meter. Today it’s dropped below $1. The natural process off reverse osmosis has been instrumental towards this quantum leap forward.

Quadrant Australia Ag Innovation Israel Tour

The equivalent of our weekends are Friday afternoons and Saturdays, a day of rest. During this time, we will explore Israeli life, culture, history and Heritage of the Holy Land in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Visit such iconic sites as the White City, the World Heritage listed Haifa and Akko, and holy sites including the Mount of the Olives, the Western Wall and Walk the Way of the Cross. Climb the Fortress of Masada then float in the Dead Sea and feel revived.

A special one-day trek has been arranged to visit Beersheba (Be’er Sheva), which is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Beersheba holds great significance to the ANZACs from World War 1. On 31 October 1917, the heavily fortified town of Beersheba was the scene of a historic charge by the men of the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade. Commencing at dusk, the brigade stormed the town, using their bayonets as swords. The momentum of the surprise attack carried them through the Turkish defences where they were able to secure the town before it could be destroyed by the retreating Turkish force. This will be a highlight for many on the tour.

The tour with Kerry will be an unforgettable experience. A great blend of technical ag visits and historic sites, before returning home in time for Christmas.

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If you would like to join the tour, please contact

Quadrant Australia

Phone: 1300 301 128 or +61 2 6651 1555

https://www.quadrantaustralia.com/ag-innovation-israel-tour/