Israel Comes to the Aid of Southeast Asian Farmers

June 22, 2021 | Dylan Loh
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Since Zionist pioneers first began their efforts to make the desert bloom, the Land of Israel has been a source of agricultural innovation. For decades, the Jewish state has also exported these innovations, teaching drip-irrigation to farmers in Africa and techniques for increasing milk production to cattle ranchers in China. Dylan Loh describes how Southeast Asia is seeking to cooperate with Israel to increase its own agricultural output:

Israel expanded its cooperation with Thailand by marking the opening of a second greenhouse facility in the Petchburi province in October. This followed its installation of the first greenhouse in 2018 as a demonstration unit for farmers in the area. The project is equipped with Israel’s irrigation and sprinkler systems designed for efficient and sustainable agricultural production, and involved Israeli experts who helped Thai farmers apply the technologies to growing crops.

In another instance of bilateral engagement, Vietnam is set to ink a Labor Cooperation Agreement with Israel as soon as this year. Under the agreement, Vietnamese workers will be sent to Israel to gain experience in the country’s agricultural sector. Like Thailand, Vietnam has Israeli-enabled greenhouses . . . where farmers have successfully cultivated some crops using hydroponic techniques.

As Southeast Asia grapples with food-security threats arising from climate change and supply disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic, Israel’s experience with agriculture has gained attention among a handful of the region’s countries seeking to enhance farming practices.

By exporting its experience to the region, Israel’s presence in Southeast Asia’s agri-food sector is set to grow, even in non-agrarian societies like Singapore, which has set a goal to produce 30 percent of its nutritional needs by 2030.

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