An experimental farm showcasing Israeli agriculture technology is in the planning stages outside Wagga Wagga. And no, for those not in the know, that's not in Africa, nor in India, whose Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is this week in Israel, among other things to discuss agriculture cooperation. It's in Australia.
"That a country that is the seventh largest exporter of food in the world, being Australia, could learn something from a country as small as Israel on agricultural technology does raise the eyebrows for a few people," admits Ben van Delden, head of marketing and 'ag-tech' point man at KPMG Australia in a phone interview.
It may sound counterintuitive that many of the most promising Israeli ag-tech startups are actually concentrating, at least at first, on the very developed markets in places like Australia, the U.S. and Europe. While Israel and India also eye intense agriculture cooperation, it's often different in nature.
"The technology that Israel offers a market like Australia will be very different from the almost agricultural aid that goes to a market like India," says van Delden. That's not necessarily because of different technological levels but because of the difference in the way agriculture is practiced and different infrastructure and commercial challenges.
For van Delden a trade mission trip to Israel came as an eye-opener. More even than high-level science, which Australia and for that matter many other countries also have, he concluded that it was a matter of mentality: "Dial up the Chutzpah", he called a report he wrote that appeared early 2017.
"That audacity, that chutzpah, we were very interested in. If we can take an ounce of that and apply it to a country with the scale of land like Australia … Think of the potential," he enthuses.