REVOLUTIONIZING LIBERIA AGRICULTURE THROUGH THE ADOPTION OF ISRAELI AGRICULTURE TECHNOLOGIES
In a bid to boost agriculture activity in Liberia, our government through the MOA, need to seize the opportunity of a collaborative effort with Israel to facilitate adoption of modern agricultural technologies to increase crop production. In our efforts to grow more food for local consumption and sustainability, we need to capitalize on the success story of a country like Israel, seeking its assistance to revolutionize our agriculture sector through the adaption of its technology know how and advancements.
Israel agriculture sector is characterized by a high degree of technological advancement, automation, and controlled mechanization resulting in a superior quality seeds and plants.
Despite being a semi-arid country, with limited water resources, Israel is a leading producer of agricultural products. Globally, it is a major exporter of fresh produce and a world leader in agricultural technologies. With the visitation of a delegation form the Liberian government to Israel, and the Minister of Agriculture Republic of Liberia with her passion and ingenuity in agriculture as part of the delegation, I am confident that our government will seek a cooperative partnership with technical assistance to adopt some of the success stories of the Israeli agricultural advancements.
With this visitation, we need to link and seize the opportunity of a collaborative effort with Israel to facilitate adoption of modern agriculture technologies to increase crop production in Liberia and to play a significant role in the global export market. Our priority now as a nation , after a prolonged period of under-performance in the agriculture sector, is increasing crop production by growing more food, increasing our crop diversity and the need to adopt the best of Israel experience in our agricultural development and planning.
The Israeli have made serious advancement in the direction of smart and precision agriculture. Regenerative agriculture is their new direction utilizing technologies in soil less agriculture from ; Aquaponic Agriculture ( growing crops along with fish and utilizing the fish waste as a fertilizer source ).
Hydroponic Agriculture ( growing crops in nutrients rich water ).
Aeroponics Agriculture ( growing crops in the air with floating roots system attached to a nutrient feeding tubes ) . The Israeli utilizes these advance technology systems that has a serious impact on increasing crop production at a higher level of the value chains. Promoting vigorous research and gains on developing different varieties seeds. Developing hybrid seeds that enhances agriculture production, seeds with longer duration under storage, and seeds that possesses high degree of adaptability to severe climatic conditions.
Agriculture system in Israel is much more ahead in comparison to the rest of the world. Only about 2% of the total population of Israeli engage in agriculture but their production is super good. The use of modern technology has made Israeli agriculture more productive, and they have become independent on agriculture production.
There are about seven technologies that are used in Israel that are making farming more efficient and more sustainable. The use of irrigation technology like Drip irrigation ( individual plant watering and monitoring moisture in plants ). Artificial Intelligence ( use of satellite imaging, censoring, use of drones).
Bio-pesticides ( organic agriculture use of predatory wasp to control insect pest).
Bio-fertilizers ( use of microscopic fungi as bio-fertilizers breaks the nutrients and mobilize them through the plants).
Robotics ( making work faster and easier and reduction of postharvest losses).
Sensors ( Use of ultra-advanced sensors in plants products data collection).
These technological advances have made Israel more productive and sustainable in agriculture compared to none in the world. Imagine a small country on the edge of the desert with scant amounts of water and yet it is considered a water superpower. They used unprecedented wealth of technological innovation and infrastructure to prevent the country from drying up, utilizing, and converting sea water through a process of desalinization.
Our government need to invite agriculture experts from Israel to help train or set up workshops and training for our farmers in superior agricultural practices and techniques to help them increase productivity.
Many African countries and developed countries of the World are now using demonstration farms as a component part of their agriculture extension program. We need to improve on our outdated extension service programs that is not helping our local farmers and adopt to the demonstration farms programs that will offer farmers firsthand training.
Demonstration Farms obviously comes with funding, but that should be part of our government role and support in promoting agriculture development in the country. Demonstration Farms are used to teach various agricultural techniques and technologies show casing to farmers. They also serve as a venue for research and test new planting methods alongside traditional ones.
The need for the adoption for demonstration farms in our agriculture sector in Liberia cannot be overemphasized especially dealing with the types of farming families and community that we have.
In conclusion, it is realistically obvious from where we are in pursuit of our development agender in the agriculture sector , it will require a comprehensive approach and accelerated efforts to grasp on these technological advancements. To affectively resuscitate and develop our agriculture sector in Liberia, increased budgetary support is paramount in developing these demonstration farms with regional location in the country. Perhaps utilizing the seven-government owned farmland could put us on the right trajectory in the implementation of these demo farms. The adoption of the Israeli emerging innovative technologies to revolutionize our agriculture sector development and planning in Liberia, could be a necessary game changer.
Article by : SOLOMON C Hedd-Williams Agronomist ( Soil and Crop Specialist / Agro-Technologist )