SA trade mission to Israel

South Australian agriculture, water and wine businesses are embarking on a trade mission to Israel determined to uncover new ways to grow the state’s AgTech industry. Source: Adelaide Nos

Elders managing director Mark Allison would lead the mission to explore opportunities and capitalise on the country’s $400 billon dollar economy and in being one of the world’s fastest growing AgTech markets.

Rilka Warbanoff, director of the state’s Australia Israel Chamber of Commerce, was the driving force behind the trip in June and has drawn KPMG AgTech chief Ben van Delden to Adelaide next month to spruik its advantages.

Mr van Delden would tell an Agriculture Australia event on May 12 about his report released earlier this year following the Australian Agri-Food Trade Mission to Israel. The report claimed it was difficult to look past Israel “when looking for a future global standout” when it came to AgTech.

He believed Australia should be working to create a competitive advantage in AgTech technologies and innovation saying companies could learn from Israel where more than 300 multinational corporations had set up research and development bases, employing more than 50,000 people.

Among Melbourne-based Mr van Delden’s key suggestions for Israeli engagement was advocating three-month research exchanges with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Agricultural Research Organisation.

He also suggested establishing a national network of AgTech hubs in Australia and importing global solutions and adapting them locally.

“Key to my learnings are that Australia must move with more urgency “yalla” and embrace a safe to fail mindset “chutzpah” if we are to become and remain a world-leading AgTech nation,” he said.

Companies had begun signing up for the trip, including Kilkenny based farm machinery company John Shearer, with Ms Warbanoff saying it made sense for South Australia to learn from Israel’s similar challenges including better using scant water resources.

“Many businesses in South Australia already use Netafim drip irrigation systems for example, they were developed in Israel,” she said.

“This is about the technology, it’s about AgTech, about how do you improve production and using technology to get the best outcomes for your business.”