30 Nov Technology: The answer to farming in water-scarce conditions
Written by Senwes Scenario
“Farmers irrigate two to five times more than needed. This means fertilizer is flushed, yields drop and water for production is lost.” So said Zohar Ben Ner, Chairman of SupPlant, addressing the audience at a seminar where Agritech hosted Senwes and other delegates to demonstrate how Israel thrives in agriculture despite the country’s arid climate conditions.
Amongst the topics discussed were; data-driven agriculture, agri-trade powered by Blockchain and water crisis management solutions for agriculture in water-scarce regions.
Zohar Ben Ner, spoke at length about adopting water-saving technology in regions where water is a scarce commodity. “The Western Cape drought crisis shows the urgency to implement technology to be water effective.” Ben Ner said.
This sentiment was reiterated in the panel discussion on agricultural solutions for water crisis management where the speakers zoned in on drip irrigation as one of the methods that farmers should adopt to reduce water wastage and increase their yields. Lesego Holzapfel of Bokamoso Enterprises who farms on a hundred hectares of land in the Kalahari echoed this thought and added that for farmers to thrive in arid conditions, irrigation has to be accurate. Drip irrigation, in particular, was lauded by the speakers as one of the methods farmers should adopt. Drip irrigation is a method of micro-irrigation that has the potential to save water. The aim of this type of irrigation is to place water directly at the root zone of plants and minimize evaporation. If maintained and operated well, a drip irrigation system can be more efficient than any plant watering system.
Speakers at the seminar showed how Israel transitioned from Agri to agri-tech and let the audience in on the trends and innovations in agriculture that South African producers can adopt to increase their yields. The application of technology tools in their farming processes was credited as the biggest contributor to Israel’s thriving agricultural industry. Keynote Speaker Shalom Ben OR, Co-founder, and CEO of Avenews-GT, in his talk explaining the role of technology in agricultural trade, said: “The adoption of technology in agriculture is increasing with new digital tools for agricultural trade.”