Agriculture in South Africa is structured both upon modern advanced technology and also upon farmers abandoning subsistence farming in favour of commercial agriculture. The latter attract both State and private investment that helps them to develop and adapt to modern methods.
South Africa has suffered severe droughts in recent years, creating conditions similar to those in Israel. The crops suitable for such conditions, irrigation technology and other factors are areas in which South Africa's agriculture can benefit from bilateral collaboration.
The NAMPO show is South Africa's main agricultural event. This year it hosted 650 pavilions and 70,000 visitors.
The Israel Export Institute's Agro-Technology pavilion has featured at NAMPO for the past five years.
This year, ten Israeli companies showcased agricultural technology there ( Bacara, Galcon,Haifa Group ,Mottes Tensiometers, Netafim, Palram, Rivulis, ShneorSeed Ltd. ,Supplant, Tefen ).
According to Agro-Technology manager Lea Porat, the pavilion's many visitors included governors, agricultural development project managers and private fund representatives.
Israel's Economic Attaché to South Africa Itai Melchior, who helped set up the pavilion, is well familiar with local markets, dynamics and politics, and believes that the 'Israel' brand is admired in South Africa and helps connect Israeli firms and local elements thirsting for advanced agricultural solutions.
SupPlant demonstrated a cutting edge technologically known as “Growth-Based-Irrigation, an innovative system based on hardware-software integration, which streamlines farming, saves enormous amount of water and increases yield. Company representative Oded Rahav relates that the company also provides farmers with turnkey projects, facilitating mobile based management and plant specific automated irrigation method.
Palram Industries offered Palruf corrugated PVC sheeting for agricultural structures which admit light but not heat. Company representative Gilad Halachmi says that Palram has been operating in South Africa since 2009. Its products serve fertiliser plants, mines, greenhouses, cowsheds and storehouses.
South African Willem Botha is Netafim's local Marketing Manager. According to him the total area of cultivated land in South Africa is estimated at 12.7 million hectares of which only 1.8 million are being irrigated. The irrigated lands produce 25-30% of the country’s crops. For this reason, it is important for Netafim to make a difference in the agricultural community by promoting better use of water resources, and promotingmart irrigation solutions and sustainable farming.
It is generally agreed that NAPO is the gate to the South African market and from there to the entire continent. For successful market penetration solutions must be offered, supplies assured, a vision formulated, together with courage and patience. Penetrating this large market will be assured if Israeli supplementary technology companies cooperate. Such cooperation will engender great growth for the benefit of all.