Israel ready to help PH modernize agricultural practices

Citing a “request” from President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the Israeli Ambassador to Manila Ilan Fluss said that his country is ready to assist the Philippines in transitioning from traditional farming to modern smart agricultural practices that will improve the country’s largest but most-challenged sector.

Israeli Ambassador to the Philippine Ilan Fluss (Photo from Embassy of Israel in Manila)

The Chief Executive is also the country’s Agriculture secretary in a concurrent capacity.

“As the Ambassador of Israel to the Philippines, I look forward to materializing the visions for the agriculture sector of the Philippines to address the request of President Marcos,” Fluss said.

He added that Israel stands ready to assist the Philippines in moving away from traditional subsistence farming to modern smart agriculture. The latter is based on agronomy, science, technology, economics, and sustainability.

The envoy’s promise came after the Embassy of Israel in Manila, through MASHAV – Israel Agency for International Development Cooperation, in partnership with the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and the United Nations Development Programme in the Philippines (UNDP), through learning network Accelerator Lab, held a learning exchange seminar on Thursday, Nov. 10, to tackle smart and sustainable agriculture of Israel and how to connect it to the current context and opportunities present in the agricultural sector of the Philippines.

During the seminar, three Israeli experts on agriculture shared their experiences and insights with the key agricultural stakeholders of the Philippines.

Israeli experts on agriculture share their experiences and insights with the key agricultural stakeholders of the Philippines (Embassy of Israel in Manila)

The seminar covered a range of topics, including global challenges and Israel's agricultural experience by Nina Lehmann, crop management and strategies that deal with new pests and unexpected challenges based on the case study of the mango pest called cecid fly (locally known as kurikong) by Eli Simenski, and improvement of irrigation efficiency and resource management as a leading measure in dealing with climate change and market demands by Moshe Broner.

The main focus of the seminar was to discuss the challenges faced by the Philippines’ agricultural sector and the possibility of adopting Israel’s approach.

The panelists also discussed strategies on how to deal with the effects of climate change, new ways of working in the sector while collaborating with the private sector, commercial farming, science-based approach to agriculture, and water management, among others.

Also in attendance during the discussions were UNDP RR Selva Ramachandran, Assistant Secretary Agnes Catherine Miranda of the Department of Agriculture (DA), and Mayor Frolibar Bautista of Malay, Aklan.

It also featured Jackie Go, a Filipino entrepreneur who shared her experience and the “promising results” of using the Israeli strategy on her cacao farm in the Philippines.