Ensuring food security for its rapidly growing population is perhaps the greatest challenge faced by Africa. The continent’s population is expanding at the fastest pace in the world and at current rates is expected to double to almost 2.5 billion people by 2050.
Currently, some 250 million people in Africa suffer from undernourishment, particularly in areas affected by climate change and conflict, and this challenge is compounded even further by the COVID-19 crisis, which has disrupted supply chains across the continent.
Technology and innovation are key to transforming agriculture in Africa in order to provide sustainable food security solutions for the continent. As climate change increasingly affects yields, Africa needs high-yield, drought-resistant crops, and to harness digital technologies such as automated irrigation systems, soil sensors, drones and crop management apps.
Israel, with its experience of developing an advanced, thriving agriculture sector under adverse climate conditions, has developed into a global leader in agriculture and water management, and is ideally placed to help African nations overcome their food security challenge.
Several leading Israeli agri-tech companies appeared at the IMPROVATE “Food Security in Africa” virtual conference on September 29
Netafim: Growing more with less
Netafim is the world’s largest irrigation company and the global leader in precision irrigation solutions committed to fighting scarcity of food, water, and land, for a sustainable future.
Its solutions give farmers real time data on internal and external variables, ensuring high and constant yields using less water and resources.
Netafim has worked extensively in Africa for over 25 years with hundreds of projects over a total of 200,000 hectares. The company works with governments, the private sector, and international institutions and NGOs to implement its vision of mass adoption of smart irrigation solutions to fight scarcity of food, water and land, to create a sustainable future.
“As a global leader, Netafim together with its partners leads the agricultural revolution in Africa, implementing cutting edge irrigation solutions across tens of thousands of hectares every year,” said Netafim’s Elad Levi, Vice President, and Head of Africa & Middle East.
ICL: Contributing to food security through agri-tech solutions
ICL is a world leader in specialty fertilizers that help to feed the world’s growing population. The company contributes to food security through a broad array of innovative agri-tech solutions, fertilizers – including new, environmentally friendly, polysulphate organic fertilizers – alternative proteins and other products that enable food to maintain a longer shelf life, or that reduce food waste.
ICL helps farmers – from small scale to mega-farms – to increase yields through balanced nutrition for crops, and provides agronomic training and best practices for sustainable agriculture that prevents environmental damage.
Speaking at the conference, Hillel Magen, VP Agronomy at ICL, said: “There is no one crop in Africa that we don’t have a solution for in terms of the fertilizer… But it’s not just fertilizers it’s also fertilization practices. Agriculture is a knowledge intensive practice; without enabling the people of Africa to master this knowledge, it will not work. So, we are very proud to play a significant part in that.”
LR Group: Creating sustainable development from inception to completion
For over 3 decades LR Group has been at the forefront of international development, providing integrated creative solutions for rural development and regional revitalization, in various countries in Africa and worldwide.
LR Group has a track record of projects with a total value of over 2.5 billion dollars in the fields of agriculture, water, energy, construction and health.
As a leading integrator in Israel, LR Group specializes in planning, execution, and management of multidisciplinary projects, implementing innovative technologies and methods to ensure efficiency throughout the value chain – from grass to glass.
Projects are developed from inception to completion on a tailor-made basis meeting international standards and environmental considerations.
Among the projects LR has carried out in Africa is the N’Sele Presidential Farm in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DCR). This mega agricultural project next to the banks of the Congo River, was established to feed the surrounding population of Kinshasa, providing a model of sustainable development.
The farm increases self-sufficiency through local production, substituting imports and ensuring constant food supply to the capital, Kinshasa, at affordable prices. It also provides employment and training to dozens of employees and increases living standards through the entire region.
Ami Lustig, CEO of LR Group commented: “The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted the global food supply chain, forcing governments to highly prioritize domestic food production. Our Group works together with several countries in Africa among other continents, to establish rural development projects that will ensure long term, sustainable domestic food production.”
One of the conclusions of the conference is that Israeli technology can help developing countries transform their agricultural ecosystems by making the sector more efficient, reducing their dependence on foreign aid, increasing their ability to deal with crises – and even to become net exporters of agricultural products.