Israel has a long and proud history of innovation, dating back to biblical times.
FREMONT, CA: Israel technology powerhouse, dubbed the 'startup nation', has more science-related startups per capita than any other country on Earth. Despite having a population of less than 9 million, it is second only to the United States in terms of venture capital funding.
And while Israel's most notable successes include the firewall, the USB flash drive, and the PillCam (a capsule endoscopy), it is Israel's outstanding agricultural technology that may hold the key to a better world.
This ever-evolving sector, dubbed AgTech or agritech by those in the know, has revolutionized the way people harvest, prepare, package, and distribute food. Israel is at the forefront of this field and will continue to develop innovative solutions to bolster global food security—one of the most pressing issues confronting humanity's future.
Israel, a very entrepreneurial nation, is teeming with private firms passionate about AgTech. Previously considered a fledgling business, the AgTech sector is now brimming with promise. Offshoots such as Food Tech and Water Tech have attracted significant investment in recent years. Israel's spectacular rise in these emerging industries can be traced to a combination of two causes.
First, Israel has a long history of technological invention. Israel has a startup density comparable to that of the San Francisco Bay Area—the country has a high patent rate per capita and many developers fighting for the attention of tech-savvy investors. Israelis are a creative bunch—the national meal of cuscus was created in response to a rice shortage. Second, Israel has substantial experience in the field of agritech. Government agricultural grants are disbursed haphazardly, and research and development have been ingrained in the national mindset. Meanwhile, Israel's precarious geopolitical situation drives the development of more self-sufficient farming practices, while the harsh environment focuses attention on food and water security.
Every three years, the country organizes Agritech Israel, an international agriculture technology exhibition attracting thousands of delegates from dozens of nations worldwide. Desertification, water scarcity, climate change, and extreme weather are frequently discussed topics, with participants ranging from government agencies to entrepreneurs, investors, farmers, and researchers.
Agriculture Technology Investment
The expanding trend indicates that the industry is experiencing a renaissance fueled by substantial global demand for clean, efficient, and sustainable technologies. With a long-standing reputation for expertise in sectors such as robotics, science, artificial intelligence, and software, it's unsurprising that Israeli firms have bitten into a sizable chunk of the food tech pie.
AgTech has the potential to become one of the world's most important sectors in the future. The demand for these technologies is only expected to increase exponentially due to climate change. Due to rising temperatures and increasing desertification, global food and water supplies will be put under severe strain.
Companies are enticing investors and policymakers with a dizzying assortment of ideas. While food technology was originally limited to dried trekking rations and decaffeinated iced mochas, it has advanced significantly since that time. Exciting fields such as stem cell research, tissue engineering, cellular agriculture, and nanotechnology have the potential to change the multibillion-dollar food sector, providing compelling solutions to the nation's food security challenges.