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Australia, Israel pursuing agricultural opportunities

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Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

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Australia and Israel are continuing to collaborate to pursue beneficial opportunities between the countries in the agricultural technology and farming industries.

A delegation from Australia’s peak industry body for vegetable and potato growers, AUSVEG, in conjunction with Haifa Australia, the global Israeli fertiliser supplier’s local subsidiary, recently met with Australia’s Ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma, in Tel Aviv to discuss opportunities between the countries.

Initiated and coordinated by the Israel Trade Commission, the AUSVEG delegation also included leading growers from Victoria and Queensland.

The group overwhelmingly recognised Israel’s expertise in research and leading edge technologies that could have a beneficial application in the Australian farming industry.

Haifa Australia Managing Director Trevor Dennis said there was huge potential to adopt Israeli technologies and farming techniques in Australia.

“Israel has the technologies that Australian growers and industry can utilise and which can then help us meet the growing opportunities in Asia,’’ Mr Dennis said.

“Israeli banana growers squeeze every drop of efficiency and push yield in every square inch of their lands. In Australia, we would just put in another block.’’

Rick Butler, Managing Director of Butler Market Gardens at Heatherton in Victoria, said he had seen first-hand in Israel that there were “new ways of doing things’’ in both field and protected crops.

“Israel has solutions that could be offered to Australia,’’ Mr Butler said.

AUSVEG Global Innovations Coordinator Stefan Oberman said the group would be keen to identify key Israeli experts to bring to the Australian industry.

The requirement for farm labour in Australia, retention of working visas and the potential for Israel and Australia to work together on labour markets and supply also were acknowledged by the group.

The AUSVEG delegation also visited Haifa’s extensive display at Agritech, the 19th International Agricultural Technology Exhibition, held in Tel Aviv.

“We are always delighted to find opportunities where growers can meet directly with multi-national companies such as Haifa to discuss their cultivation needs,’’ said AUSVEG Chief Executive Officer Richard Mulcahy.

“I think it’s important to recognise the prominent role Haifa Australia plays in Australian horticulture. Many growers rely on their industry-leading knowhow and expertise to ensure that they continue to grow some of the best produce in the world.’’