Here’s a thought! Today, as throughout modern history, irrigation is crucial to the global food supply: the 18% of the world’s farmland that’s irrigated yields 40% of the world’s food. Yet less than 5% of the world’s irrigated land is equipped with drip irrigation systems.
Added to that, we have the increasingly complex issues of water scarcity, climate change, drought and hunger. All in all, we have a major task on our hands. That’s why we are dedicating 2014 to increasing awareness of the power of drip irrigation. We also accept our obligation as a global leader to share our knowledge and expertise. At Netafim, we have the experts, engineers and agronomists to create the revolution.
I see my role as increasing awareness with the decision makers in Governments and NGO’s as well as the movers and shakers in the agricultural industry and I look forward with great enthusiasm to the challenges of 2014.
Lunching with the President
Last week, I was honored to have been invited to a business luncheon with visiting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who came to Israel to broaden and deepen political and economic ties between the two states. Later that evening our CEO, Igal Aisenberg, met the visiting president at President Shimon Peres’ official residence in Jerusalem. The visiting President was very interested in discussing agricultural development and was especially keen to hear about the advantages of drip irrigation which is becoming increasingly popular as a solution of tea and other crops.
Tea is one of the main generators of foreign exchange in Sri Lanka and accounts for 2% of GDP, generating roughly $700 million annually to the economy of Sri Lanka. It employs, directly or indirectly over 1 million people with approximately 200,000 people employed on tea plantations and estates. Sri Lanka is the world’s fourth largest producer of tea. I was happy to discuss with the President, Netafim’s research partnerships with the Tea Research Institutes in Sri Lanka and Tanzania where results are extremely promising.
President Rajapaksa noted he is the first president of his country to visit Israel. “When we received our independence in 1948, diplomatic relations began to be formed between our countries, and Israel was one of the first states with which we established diplomatic relations.” He expressed deep admiration for the Israeli economy, and for its innovativeness in technology, agriculture and water. He emphasized that a central goal of his visit was to broaden and deepen cooperation between Israel and Sri Lanka in these areas.