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Growing agricultural partnership between Western Cape and Israel




On his Facebook page, Ivan Meyer (the Western Cape minister of agriculture and the interim federal chairperson of the Democratic Alliance) wrote that he and the ambassador recently held discussions about international relations and closer co-operation in the field of agriculture.

This included addressing economic development, innovation in agriculture, skills development, water-resource management, and agri-business investment. He said there was the possibility of an Israeli delegation visiting the Western Cape in March to promote agri investment.

“We have many mutual interests, so we decided to meet at the first opportunity,” Keinan told the SA Jewish Report, pointing out that he often meets local authorities to discuss co-operation, so this meeting wasn’t particularly rare. As the same time, what was discussed was positive and exciting.

“It was very easy to find mutual concerns. The drought in the Western Cape didn’t occur very long ago, and even though it has had a good rainy season, there are concerns that it could return. I explained the fact that we have 360-degree management of water in Israel.”

“First, we use desalination so that we aren’t dependent on rain. Second, we recycle 90% of our water. We are the top water recycler in the world. Third, we channel our grey water to agriculture so that we save most of our drinking water, and fourth, we use the technology in our pipe systems to detect leaks, so we lose much less water. I presented our capabilities to the minister, and they will hopefully be channelled to where attention is needed,” said Keinan.

Specifically in the Western Cape, the ambassador believes Israel’s technology can help increase fruit and vegetable production and be used to control vast farmlands. “Israel uses satellites and drones so that farmlands can be monitored from your cell phone,” Keinan said.

The ambassador hopes that the delegation planned for March will improve co-operation and establish business and trade connections between South African and Israeli businesses in the sector.

“The embassy works tirelessly with all levels of authorities to increase co-operation, trade, and improve the quality of life for all South Africans. Furthermore, Israeli capabilities are very familiar to South Africans in many sectors,” said Keinan. Even if Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) lashed out at these efforts, he and his team would quietly continue to build bridges.

The SA Jewish Report repeatedly reached out to Meyer for comment, but he was not forthcoming at the time of going to print.

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