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A joint program of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Israel Innovation Authority will assist in the development of groundbreaking technologies for farmers

The Ministry of Agriculture and the Israel Innovation Authority will award grants totaling at approximately NIS 9 million to six selected start-ups that will ensure the continued regular supply of agricultural products

From drones helping control pests to a patent that will help clean fishponds: A joint program of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Israel Innovation Authority will assist in the development of groundbreaking technological solutions to issues that concern Israeli farmers and may impair the regular supply of fresh agricultural produce (food security). The program will provide funding of up to 70% of the pilot's expenses. The goal is to promote the initial implementation of innovative technology, and to examine its successful application both in Israel and around the world

Today, another call for proposal will open for startups who offering technological solutions to the Israeli farmers. Submissions' deadline is March 20, 2022

As part of the joint pilot program, the joint committee for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Israel Innovation Authority selected 6 agro-tech start-ups that are engaged in ensuring the regular supply of fresh food (food security). The joint committee will fund up to 70% of the pilots aimed at promoting technological improvement of this field. The winning companies were selected from 17 start-ups that specialize in the development of food products or industrial raw materials based on plants or animal products, as well as developments designed to improve and streamline production during the growing stages. A total of NIS 8.6 million will be awarded to the companies, with half of the amount transferred from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the other half from the Innovation Authority.

The winning start-ups will each receive support of up to 60% of the pilot's budget, with companies conducting the pilot in national priority areas receiving an additional 10% funding. In addition, the companies will be able to take their development to the next stage, through a pilot program to be held in active farms or in the R&D centers of the Ministries of Agriculture and Science, across Israel. This will provide farmers with access to most advanced technologies and at the same time, the startup companies will gain access to regular agricultural operation that will enable them to optimize their developments, which will eventually help them in commercializing their developments quickly and efficiently.

The companies were selected based on their level of technological innovation and based on how unique f their program is; The level of challenges the program meets; The company's capabilities, including its management's capabilities and their ability to complete and implement their business plan; The business-economic growth potential of the company following the program's success; The technological and employment contribution of the program to the Israeli economy; Quality of the pilot program - the quality of the pilot site (farm or regional R&D center of the Ministries of Agriculture and Science) and the synergy between the company and the pilot site; As well as the company's  benefit from running the pilot program in terms of proximity to the market and commercialization.

Director General,  Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Naama Kaufman-Pess: "Food security is our responsibility, the Ministry of Agriculture is investing budgets of billions in research and development. This is the only way we can continue to strengthen agriculture and prepare optimally for times of crisis and in particular for the climate change. We are investing in this project while thinking about our future, and through agro-tech we will be able to overcome the challenges we will face tomorrow. I wish great success to the winning companies and believe that these and others will continue to brand the State of Israel as an agro-tech powerhouse, with technological capabilities on an international scale."

Israel Innovation Authority CEO, Dror Bin: "As part of the joint pilot program for Israel Innovation Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture, Israel is funding the first implementation activity of advanced technologies for Israeli farmers. The purpose of the program is twofold: to provide an opportunity for first implementation of advanced technologies for Israeli startups and to allow Israeli citizens to enjoy the innovation developed locally. Agro-tech is an important field and has a real impact on the future of the world through a variety of cross sectors, such as: climate, food security and sustainable agriculture that allows less use of pesticides and high nutritional values."

The following are the details of the 6 selected companies:

BioFishency: The company is developing an automated and controlled system for the treatment of industrial fish farming ponds (RAS). These systems allow intensive rearing of fish with negligible water consumption. In ponds of this type, due to the density of the fish, large amounts of organic matter are excreted into the water. BioFishnecy's system treats water and substances excreted in the water. Among other things, the system turns ammonia into nitrogen gas, and disinfects the growth water in a way that can prevent the outbreak of diseases and improve the living habitat of the fishes. The pilot trial is expected to bring the company closer to marketing the system, by examining the actual growth 24/7 over a number of growth cycles. In addition, the pilot will help establish a model farm that will assist in promoting sales both in Israel and abroad.

Contact: Yigal Magen, igal@biofishency.com 054-7655458

Agrint Sensing Solutions INC.: The company is developing a sophisticated seismic sensor for early and precise detection of caterpillar infested trees (apple, pear, olive, almond, avocado, cherry, plane, mango and more). The product offers monitoring that will enable accurate pest control and prevention of irreversible damage. This is a solution suited for plantation owners, municipalities, private and public gardens, that allows them early detection of pests. The sensor enables 24/7 monitoring of the tree, early detection and reporting to the customer via an app. Thus saves on costs,  amounts of pesticides and of course, saves the trees.

Contact: Yehuda Ben Hamozag, yehonatanb@agrint.net 050-8507200

Tosaf Compounds: The company has developed an innovative UV radiation stabilizer concentrate for polyethylene sheets used to cover agricultural greenhouses. The product is mainly used in environments with high levels of pesticides. The uniqueness of this new product is its ability to save up to 25% on the cost of stabilizers compared to competing NOR-based products, which are patented and manufactured by only a small group of European manufacturers.

Contact: Ronit Segal Ohayon, ronith@tosaf.com 054-2667793

ALTA: The drone company, Alta developed a solution for precise spraying of plant products using drones. The ALTA drone performs and initial scan of the area, from which the images are uploaded to the company's artificial intelligence system, for detection of foci weeds. Accordingly, the drone is dispatched to spray the pesticides only at points identified by the AI system. This method makes it possible to effectively deal with weeds, while reducing the extent of pesticide use, and provide farmers cost saving on fixed expenses.

Contact: Tomer Regev, office@alta.team 054-30773273

FruitSpec: The company has developed a smart system (FruitSpec Caliper) that measures the size of the fruit. The system, adapted to every vehicle type , measures the size of the fruit while driving through the orchard and replaces the manual measurement system used today. The data is automatically available on the company's cloud. Using the cloud, the grower will be able to make agronomic decisions that will affect the size of the fruit and – after their implementation – monitor the continued development of the fruit. The system will operate for an entire growing season. Additionally, the data is of economic and logistical importance to parties throughout the production and marketing chain (packaging houses, marketers, consumers, etc.).

Contact: Raviv Kula, raviv@fruitspec.com 054-4863561

Salicrop: The company has developed a unique technology for treating seeds (including rice, wheat, corn, barley and vegetable seeds such as tomatoes and peppers), which gives the plant high resistance to extreme weather conditions, such as heat and dryness. At the same time, the technology provides high resistance to salinity in the soil and irrigation water. The treatment is based on exposing the seed to a formula adapted to dealing with harsh environmental conditions. As part of the field tests conducted by the company over the last couple of years, in Israel's Arava region, the Negev and the Beit She'an Valley, the technology showed significant improvement in the volume of crops in areas with high salinity. In the coming month, the company is starting a large-scale field trial with tomato production, in an area of over 300 dunams. The experiment is being carried out with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Innovation Authority. The company's solution is more relevant than ever since, according to UN data, by 2050, about 50 percent of the world's soils will suffer from high salinity, which is expected to significantly impair crop volume. Currently, the company is making its way into the international market through strategic collaborations.

Contact: Carmit Oron, carmit@salicrop.com 052-5415464