May 19, 2024

The government of Israel is offering new opportunities for Baguio City’s growing agriculture sector and for the nearby province of Benguet, the country’s top producer of temperate vegetables.
Through its Mashav, the Agency for International Development Cooperation of Israel, the country known as a global hub for innovations offers an internship program that gives Filipino interns engaged in agriculture a chance to learn about Israel’s best practices and technologies.
Every year, up to 500 Filipino students train in Israel, which offers advanced technologies and innovation in farming that it aims to share with the Philippines to contribute to its goal of attaining sustainability and food sufficiency in the country.
Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss told reporters in Baguio on March 23 that the internship program allows Filipino students to travel to Israel for 11 months for academic studies and to work with Israel farmers for them to get to know and see different technologies which they could introduce when they return home.
“The idea is to look at agriculture not as just as subsistence farming but looking at agriculture as a business. It’s an economic activity which has to be profitable, so we are changing mindsets on agriculture,” said Fluss during a courtesy call and meeting with Mayor Benjamin Magalong as part of the Embassy of Israel delegation’s visit in Baguio and Benguet.
He said Israel applies smart agriculture, which for them involves maximizing outputs or farmer’s production while minimizing inputs such as saving water, avoiding use of chemicals and pesticides, and using beta seeds.
“By that, you are dealing with sustainability but you are making it viable economically as a business. After 11 months working with Israeli farmers, Filipinos will have academic studies and when they come back here, they introduce what they learned. It is exposing them to the best practices and technologies,” Fluss said.
Israel has existing Smart Agriculture projects in Bataan and Tarlac run by alumni of its program. Fluss said these alumni are now entrepreneurs, and they want to see more participants coming from Baguio and Benguet, which is being worked out in partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
The Department of Agriculture and the National Dairy Authority also recently signed with the Israel Embassy in the Philippines and the Israel Economic Commercial Mission to the Philippines a joint declaration for mutual relationship and assistance in the developing the country’s dairy sector.
The signing of the declaration aims to share best practices from Israel’s advanced dairy industry, to discuss the challenges of the sector in the Philippines, and to introduce leading technologies to increase farm productivity.
Fluss added they also want to see more Israeli technologies contributing to the Baguio’s latest thrust of becoming a smart city. Known as a “start-ups country,” Israel has over 7,000 start-ups out of its population of 9.3 million, making it as the biggest country of start-ups per capita with lots of investments. – Hanna C. Lacsamana