Due to the high level of agricultural technology expertise in both countries,
Israel and Japan will establish a shared fund for research and development,
Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir announced on Monday.
between Israel and Japan in agriculture, as we did in the field of hi-tech, will
be made possible by establishing a common agricultural research and development
fund,” the minister said.
Shamir made the announcement following a
meeting in Tokyo with his Japanese counterpart, Agriculture, Fisheries and
Forests Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi. Japan, he stressed, is a natural partner to
Israel in forging forward with agricultural research and development due to the
ingenuity that takes place in both countries. The current volume of agricultural
trade occurring between the two nations is still limited relative to its
potential, at only about $80 million, according to data from the
During his trip to Japan, Shamir spent time with Hayashi
touring fishing areas, seeing greenhouse development, examining the use of
treated wastewater and looking at the dairy industry’s growth – all of which may
be potential topics for future research and development cooperation, the
The two ministers also discussed the possibility of
opening up the Japanese market to fresh agricultural produce from Israel –
particularly crops such as peppers, spices, carrots and amaryllis bulbs. Due to
Japan’s stringent regulations on crop protection, such exports had not been
possible for a long time, the Agriculture Ministry said. However, due to
Israel’s existing export agreements with the United States and the European
Union, Japan has expressed greater willingness to promote the proceedings
necessary to grant approval to the import of Israeli crops.
goal of Shamir’s visit to Japan was to promote a conference of the International
Dairy Federation that will be held next October in Israel, which should draw
more than 2,000 participants from 54 countries and represent about 90 percent of
the world’s dairy market, the ministry said.
“I was impressed that there
is a great appreciation for the scientific and technological capabilities of the
State of Israel in the field of agriculture,” Shamir said after the visit. “The
Japanese government wants to increase the involvement of Israeli companies in
the country’s fields of agriculture and water and I believe that this joint
research and development fund is a most effective platform toward achieving this
Three years ago, Israel established a similar such fund with Italy
and last year added $500,000 to each of its existing funds with Germany and
China, according to the ministry.
Emphasizing that Japan successfully
maintains the third biggest economy in the world, Shamir also praised the
country for increasing its openness to partners across the
“Japan’s efforts to upgrade its agricultural sector with exposure
to competition and to bring back young people to engage in the field – by means
of the import and implementation of new technologies, among other things –
beckon Israel to an opportunity in the agriculture industry,” Shamir said.