Conference Program

To Download the printable version: CLICK HERE

Tuesday, 8 May 2018



07:30  -  17:00

Opening Ceremony

08:45  -  09:30
    Dr. Uri Yermiyahu
    Ofir Libstein
    Min. Uri Ariel
    Min. Eli Cohen
    Gov. Eric Holcomb
    Adiv Baruch
    Prof. Eli Feinerman
    Aharon Aharon

Moderator & Chairperson: Dr. Uri Yermiyahu, President, Agritech Conference

Mr. Ofir Libstein, Agritech Israel Chairman

Min. Uri Ariel, Israeli Minister of Agriculture and Rural development

Min. Eli Cohen – Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry

Gov. Eric Holcomb, Governor of Indiana

Mr. Adiv Baruch, Chairman, Israel Export Institute

Prof. Eli Feinerman, CEO, ARO, Volcani Center

Mr. Aharon Aharon, CEO, Israel Innovation Authority


Public Policy

09:30  -  10:00
    Monique Barbut

Moderator & Chairperson: Dr. Uri Yermiyahu, President, Agritech Conference

09:30-10:00: Ms. Monique Barbut, Head of UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification)




Agriculture and Food Policies in Arid and Semi-Arid Countries

10:00  -  11:00
    Amb. Gil Haskel
    Dr. Alon Ben-Gal

MASHAV Special Session Part 1:

Marking 60 Years of MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Moderator: Amb. Gil Haskel, Head of MASHAV, MFA

Ministerial Round Table – Challenges and solutions in agricultural and food policies in arid and semi-arid areas

Q&A with Experts:

Dr. Alon Ben-Gal, Senior Researcher, ARO, Volcani Center

Prof. Pedro Berliner, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

Prof. Alon Tal, Chair Department of Public Policy, Tel Aviv University



Smallholders Farming Combating the Desert

11:00  -  12:15
    Amb. Yuval Fuchs
    Dr. Shoshan Haran
    Tammy Erann Soussan
    Dr. Ram Fishman

MASHAV Special Session Part 2:

Marking 60 Years of MASHAV – Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Moderator: Amb. Yuval Fuchs, Deputy Head of MASHAV, MFA

Q&A with Experts:

Dr. Shoshan Haran, Founder & General Manager, Fair Planet

Ms. Tammy Erann Soussan, Head of the French Division in MATC, MASHAV

Dr. Ram Fishman, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Mana Center, Tel Aviv University



Award Ceremony

12:15  -  12:20

Award Ceremony for Agritech Israel Founder, Mr. Rafi Ramon and former Agritech Israel Manager, Mr. Dani Meiri.


Lunch Break

12:20  -  13:00

Family & Smallholders Farming

13:00  -  14:50
Hall A2
    Dr. Ruti From-Arica
    Dr. Shoshan Haran
    Tammy Erann Soussan
    Dr. Ram Fishman
    Nitzan Solan
    Mr. Bing Zhao

Moderator: Dr. Ruti From-Arica, Director of the Planning Authority, Israel Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

13:00-13:30: Keynote: Dr. Shoshan Haran, Founder & General Manager, Fair Planet – Fair Planet – Bridging the Seed Gap

13:30-13:50: Ms. Tammy Erann Soussan, Head of the French Division in MATC, MASHAV- Technical Innovation for Poverty Alleviation: The TIPA Model for empowering Smallholder Farmers in Africa

13:50-14:10: Dr. Ram Fishman, Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Mana Center, Tel Aviv University – Understanding barriers to technology adoption by smallholders

14:10-14:30: Ms. Nitzan Solan, Co-founder & CEO, Living Box LTD – Hydroponics, grow anywhere for everyone

14:30-14:50: Mr. Bing Zhao, P4P Director and Global Coordinator, UN World Food Programme – Pro-smallholder procurement, and the importance of market access


Protected Cultivation and Plant Protection

13:00  -  14:50
Hall A3
    Dr. Arnon Dag
    Alona Ron-Snir
    Dr. Meir Teitel
    Dr. Hagai Yasuor
    Prof. Dani Shtienberg
    Prof. Avital Bechar

Moderator: Dr. Arnon Dag, Senior Researcher, ARO, Volcani Center

13:00-13:30: Keynote: Prof. Dani Shtienberg, Deputy Director for Strategic Development, ARO, Volcani Center – Management of bacterial canker of tomatoes grown under net in semi-arid conditions

13:30-13:50: Prof. Avital Bechar, Senior Researcher, ARO, Volcani Center – Robotics for precision agriculture tasks in protected crops

13:50-14:10: Ms. Alona Ron-Snir, Business Development Manager, DryGair Energies – Innovative solution for controlling humidity within the growing facilities/ greenhouse

14:10-14:30: Dr. Hagai Yasuor, Senior Researcher, ARO, Volcani Center – Heat stress in protective vegetable crops, mechanisms and agronomical challenges

14:30-14:50: Dr. Meir Teitel, Senior Researcher, ARO, Volcani Center – Methods for the reduction of heat load in protected crops under warm climatic conditions


Coffee Break

14:50  -  15:10

Global Projects

15:10  -  17:00
Hall A2
    Zvi Herman
    Prof. Dr. Bekir Erol AK
    Frank DiBello
    Arnon Rosenbaum
    Dr. Patricia Imas
    Moti Harari

Moderator: Mr. Zvi Herman, Executive Director, LR Group

15:10-15:35: Keynote: Prof. Dr. Bekir Erol AK, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Horticulture, Turkey – The impact of Atatürk Dam on horticultural and field crops at southeast anatolian region

15:35-16:00: Keynote: Mr. Frank DiBello, CEO and President of Space Florida Corporation – Discovery science from space towards solutions to agriculture and water challenges

16:00-16:20: Mr. Arnon Rosenbaum, VP Projects & Business Development, Netafim – Bridging the water gap with micro-irrigation technology. Ramthal Lift Irrigation Project – Case study of the world’s largest drip irrigation project

16:20-16:40: Dr. Patricia Imas, Chief Agronomist, Fertilizers Ltd. – Potash for Life – A large scale project for last-mile knowledge delivery to farmers on balanced use of fertilizers in India 

16:40-17:00: Mr. Moti Harari, Flowers and Garden Plants Head Researcher, Southern Arava R&D  – Furrows in the desert- Agricultural development project, Turkana, Kenya



15:10  -  17:00
Hall A3
    Rafi Nevo
    Ran Maidan
    Wendy Singer
    Richard Colback
    Winifred Ngangure Kabega
    Amadou Moussa
    Robert Coleman
    Abubakar Bakhresa
    Elad Levi
    Amb. Gideon Behar
    Hillel Magen
    Prof. Itamar Glazer

Moderator: Mr. Rafi Nevo, Head of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Kibbutz Industries Association

15:10-15:30: Keynote: Mr. Ran Maidan, President & CEO, Netafim

15:30-16:10: Panel:  The Future is now: Transformations in Agriculture Happening in Africa

Moderator: Ms. Wendy Singer, Executive Director, Start-Up Nation Central

  1. Ms. Winifred Ngangure Kabega, Head of Investment Promotion and Facilitation, Rwanda Development Board (RDB)/Mr. Emmanuel Hategeka, COO, Rwanda Development Board (RDB)
  2. Mr. Richard Colback, IFC Sub-Saharan Africa irrigation leader
  3. Mr. Robert Coleman, Managing Director, Dangote Rice Ltd.
  4. Mr. Abubakar Bakhresa, Managing Director, Bakhresa Group
  5. Mr. Amadou Moussa, General Director, Agricultural Engineering Administration, Niger Agriculture Ministry
  6. Mr. Elad Levi, Managing Director, Netafim-Africa

16:10-16:30: Keynote: Amb. Gideon Behar, Head of Bureau Africa Division, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Africa: The implications of climate change, desertification and population growth

16:30-16:45: Mr. Hillel Magen, VP Agronomy, ICL Fertilizers Ltd. and Director, IPI – Delivering fertilization knowledge through a large scale reach out project to potato and tomato farmers in Kenya

16:45-17:00: Prof. Itamar Glazer, Deputy Director for Research and Development, ARO, Volcani Center – Strategies and approaches for the support of African agricultural development



Wednesday, 9 May 2018



08:00  -  16:00

Smart Agriculture

08:30  -  10:00
    Dr. George Vellidis
    Prof. Eugene Kandel
    Prof. Arnon Karnieli
    Ran Maidan
    Prof. Ilan Halachmi
    Dr. Victor Alchanatis

Moderator: Dr. Victor Alchanatis, Senior Researcher, Agriculture Engineering Institute, ARO, Volcani Center

08:30-08:55: Keynote: Dr. George Vellidis, Professor, Director of Academic Programs, Crop and Soil Sciences Department, Tifton Campus, University of Georgia – SmartIrrigation – the Pathway to Sustainable Intensification

08:55-09:15: Keynote: Prof. Eugene Kandel, CEO, Start-Up Nation Central – Overview on Israeli innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem in Agriculture

09:15-09:30: Prof. Arnon Karnieli, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev – Selected applications of the VENµS satellite for precision agriculture

09:30-09:45: Mr. Ran Maidan, President & CEO, Netafim – From Depending on Rain Clouds to Harvesting the Power of the Digital Cloud

09:45-10:00: Prof. Ilan Halachmi, Research Scientist, Head of the PLF lab, ARO, Volcani Center – Adapting sensor-based precision livestock farming (PLF) to climate changes and semi-arid agriculture


Israel Innovation Authority Start-Up Presentations

10:00  -  11:00
    Anya Eldan

10:00-10:15: Moderator & Keynote: Ms. Anya Eldan, Vice President, Start-Up Division, Israel Innovation Authority – Precision Agriculture – Growth Engine?

10:15-11:00: Start-Up Pitch:

  1. AGROWING – Agrowing has vast experience in video and image compression and processing, as well as intimate knowledge of the way cameras and sensors work.
  2. CROPX TECHNOLOGIES LTD. – Cropx offers an integrated hardware and software system for measuring soil moisture, temperature and electrical conductivity and sending that data to the cloud where it can be accessed from any mobile or fixed device.
  3. EDETE – Edete Precision Agriculture Technologies is solving the world’s ever-growing pollination challenge by developing and manufacturing an efficient, automated fruit orchard pollination system and providing optimized pollination services to companies and growers.
  4. FIELDIN TECH – FieldIn is an end-to-end pest management software solution for professional growers of specialty crops. We help growers and large grower organizations save money on more efficient crop protection practices, reducing overall use of pesticides and eliminating spray mistakes.
  5. MANNA IRRIGATION INTELLIGENCE – The Manna Irrigation Intelligence solution is a sensor-free, cloud-based software that provides growers with irrigation recommendations, crop monitoring maps and irrigation planning tools.
  6. TEVEL AEROBOTICS TECHNOLOGIES Start-Up company who develops the WIZARD, A Fleet of autonomous airborne robots for fruit harvesting, thinning, and pruning.
  7. TRELLIS – Trellis uses cutting-edge AI algorithms to help you understand and predict real-time threats to your supply chain, including missed targets in quality, quantity, price, and timing, so you can plan accordingly or even avoid them entirely.
  8. SATURAS – SWP sensor-based precision irrigation system provides a solution that combines accuracy, ease of use, and affordability. Embedding sensors in the trunk provides direct contact with water tissues for accurate and continuous stem water potential and status measurement.



Coffee Break

11:00  -  11:20

Water and Irrigation (Qualities)

11:20  -  13:20
Hall A2
    Dr. Jose Enrique Fernandez Luque
    Dr. H.P. Singh
    Dr. Shmuel Assouline
    Dr. Alon Ben-Gal
    Assoc. Prof. Alex Furman
    Dr. Adva Zach-Maor

Moderator: Assoc. Prof. Alex Furman, Director, the Grand Water Research Institute, Technion

11:20-11:50: Keynote: Dr. Jose Enrique Fernandez Luque, Senior Researcher, Institute of Natural Resources and Agobiology, CSIC Seville – How far are we from effective irrigation scheduling

11:50-12:10: Dr. H.P. Singh, Chairman, ASSOCHAM Council, India – Efficient use of water in Agriculture for enhancing farm output

12:10-12:30: Dr. Shmuel Assouline, Senior Researcher, ARO, Volcani Center – Long-term irrigation with treated wastewater: Effects on soil properties and growth conditions

12:30-12:50: Dr. Alon Ben-Gal, Senior Researcher, ARO, Volcani Center – Salt of the earth? The potential and challenges of irrigation with non-conventional water sources

12:50-13:10 : Dr. Adva Zach-Maor, VP R&D, Amiad Filtration – Analog innovation in a digital world – the new concept for sustainable filtration solutions


Agriculture Regional Projects and Project Financing

11:20  -  13:20
Hall A3
    Ami Lustig
    Prof. Uri Shani
    Arnaud Cachard
    Yeliz Tufekcioglu
    Shuli Kurzon van Gelder
    Nina Lehmann
    Dr. Arnon Dag
    Dr. Gal Yaacobi

Moderator: Mr. Ami Lustig, Public management Chairman of Agro division at the Israel Export Institute

11:20-11:45: Keynote: Prof. Uri Shani, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem – ”Red – Dead conduit and regional water solutions”

11:45-12:10: Mr. Arnaud Cachard, Director and Head of Export Finance International, Credit Suisse, Switzerland & Ms. Yeliz Tufekcioglu, Head of European Region International Network, SACE

12:10-12:40: Ms. Nina Lehmann, Director for Agricultural Development Cooperation in Africa, Training Programs and Environment, CINADCO & Ms. Shuli Kurzon van Gelder, Director, Planning,  Evaluation and Partnerships, MASHAV- Cooperation between agricultural extension services through capacity building programs

12:40-13:00: Dr. Arnon Dag, Senior Researcher, ARO, Volcani Center – Mid East Regional Cooperation on development of Olive agriculture and industry

13:00-13:20: Dr. Gal Yaacobi, Research & Development Manager, Bio-Bee – Fruit flies management using biological control at a regional scale



Lunch Break

13:20  -  14:00

Water and Irrigation (Operations, Conveyance, Economics)

14:00  -  15:50
Hall A2
    Anat Lowengart
    Prof. Naftali Lazarovitch
    Prof. Jack Gilron
    Dr. Ofer Beeri
    Zafrir Sofer
    Dr. Shabtai Cohen
    Dubi Raz

Moderator: Ms. Anat Lowengart, Head of the Agroecology Division in the Extension Service, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

14:00-14:25: Keynote: Prof. Naftali Lazarovitch, Ben Gurion University of the Negev – Drip fertigation for staple food crops: can we do it?

14:25-14:45: Prof. Jack Gilron, Co-Founder and CTO, ROTEC (Reverse Osmosis Technologies) – Innovations in desalination industry

14:45-15:05: Dr. Ofer Beeri, Chief Scientist, Rivulis & Manna Irrigation – Detecting plant water potential using remote sensing, for improved irrigation decisions

15:05-15:25: Mr. Zafrir Sofer, CEO, Palgey Maim  – Effluents- from burden to resource of irrigation

15:25-15:45: Dr. Shabtai Cohen, Senior Researcher, ARO, Volcani Center – Crop water requirements and irrigation under screens and plastic without climate control

15:45-15:50: Mr. Dubi Raz, Corporate Agronomy Director, Netafim – DripByDrip – new approach to fertigation




14:00  -  15:30
Hall A3
    Dr. Dror Minz
    Prof. Rene Castro-Salazar
    Dr. Gil Eshel
    Dr. Guy Levy
    Dr. Eli Zaady

Moderator: Dr. Dror Minz, Director, Institute for Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, ARO, Volcani Center

14:00-14:30: Keynote: Prof. Rene Castro-Salazar, Assistant Director-General of Climate, Biodiversity, Land and Water Department, FAO – The extent of forest in dryland biomes

14:30-14:50: Dr. Gil Eshel, Soil Scientist, Israel Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development – Challenges in protecting soil health in intensive agriculture located in a dry Mediterranean climate

14:50-15:10: Dr. Guy Levy, Researcher, ARO, Volcani Center – Soil sodicity, salinity and structure degradation resulting from irrigation with low-quality water

15:10-15:30: Dr. Eli Zaady, Senior Researcher, ARO, Volcani Center – Ecological stabilization of movable sand dunes at the edge of agricultural fields




Coffee Break

15:50  -  16:10

Combating Desertification – Agriculture and Environment under Drought Conditions

16:10  -  18:00
Hall A2
    Itzik Ben-David
    Hon. Carola Schouten
    Dr. Guillaume Gruere
    Prof. Marcelo Sternberg
    Dr. Rakefet David-Schwartz
    Dr. Zvi Peleg

Moderator: Mr. Itzik Ben-David, Senior Deputy Director General – Foreign Trade, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

16:10-16:35: Keynote: Hon. Carola Schouten, Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality – The Netherlands – Your Ally In The Battle Against Climate Change

16:35-17:00: Keynote: Dr. Guillaume Gruere, Senior Policy Analyst, Trade and Agriculture Directorate, OECD – Confronting water scarcity risks in agriculture: what role for polices?

17:00-17:20: Prof. Marcelo Sternberg, Tel Aviv University – Effects of climate change on grazing management: knows and unknowns in time of uncertainty

17:20-17:40: Dr. Rakefet David-Schwartz, Senior Researcher, ARO, Volcani Center – Mechanisms to cope with water stress in forest trees at the semi-arid area in Israel

17:40-18:00: Dr. Zvi Peleg, Senior Lecturer, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem – Saving roots for rainy days




16:10  -  18:00
Hall A3
    Prof. Yoram Kapulnik
    Prof. Yosef Mizrahi
    Miles Hurrell
    Dr. Yuval Cohen
    Dr. David J. Bonfil
    Gabi Wolkinson

Moderator: Prof. Yoram Kapulnik, Executive Director, BARD

16:10-16:40: Keynote: Prof. Yosef Mizrahi, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev – Cacti as possible future multipurpose desert crops

16:40-17:00: Mr. Miles Hurrell, COO, Fonterra, New Zealand & Australia farmers & Dairy Co-operative – Adaptability: the changing dynamics in resource availability NZ – and lessons to be learned from arid regions

17:00-17:20: Dr. David J. Bonfil, Senior Researcher, ARO, Volcani Center – Israel, natural field lab – Wheat and climate change

17:20-17:40: Dr. Yuval Cohen, Senior Researcher, ARO, Volcani Center – Date palm cultivation in Israel: Challenges and research achievements

17:40-18:00: Mr. Gabi Wolkinson, CEO, Sea Dream, Microdel Group – Fish growth in the Desert



MASHAV Cocktail Evening for Speakers at the Herods Hotel, Herzliya (By Invitation Only)

19:30  -  21:00