Innovations of all types pave AgriTech halls
Agriculture exhibition showcases hundreds of new technologies ranging from water-converting drones to predatory mites.
CEO of AQUA Israel Mayer Fitoussi Photo: Sharon Udasin
Mayer Fitoussi, CEO of AQUA Israel, envisions equipping unmanned aerial drones
with systems that can both harvest water from the air and allow the vehicle to
remain for six months in the sky without touching down.
which Fitoussi boasted about with excitement, was one of hundreds on display at
the enormous AgriTech Israel 2012 – The 18th International Agriculture
Exhibition and Conference spanning the Tel Aviv exhibition grounds from Tuesday
Innovations ranged from water conservation technologies
to eco-friendly pest repellants, from coconut-based soils to dairy farming
techniques from countries across the world. Too numerous to fit in only one
pavilion, the booths filled about four huge inside spaces, in addition to an
outside exhibition area that featured tractors, gardens and chicken cages. The
Agriculture Ministry’s space included a transparent plastic footbridge,
underneath which swam large, brightly hued fish in a makeshift pond.
at AQUA Israel, Fitoussi described the water-harvesting technology that his
company had developed, telling The Jerusalem Post that the IDF has already
expressed interest in the future use of such technology.
Able to operate
on the wings of a drone or in a stationary setting, the system is made up of
photovoltaic solar panel cells of one square meter each, which provide the
energy to transform air into water.
“It takes moisture from the air and
gives you rain,” he said.
Combined with a hydrogen fuel-cell engine, the
solar panels would also give a drone enough power to potentially fly for six
months without landing, according to Fitoussi, who noted, however, that the
technology will not be available for another three years.
In addition to
the water-harvesting technology, AQUA Israel was also marketing its “Green
Ball,” a plastic green ball filled with natural minerals that can work in place
of detergent for 1,500 loads of laundry. Next to the Green Ball, Fitoussi and
his team were displaying their “Smart Shower Head,” which builds pressure from
the outside air and thereby uses 50-percent less water during showers, according
to the company.
On a countertop at the booth of the BioBee company,
pin-sized red and brown insects swarmed and crawled around in plastic
“We’re using them as a biological solution for pests,” Amit
Sadeh, of BioBee, told the Post.
The red insects were predatory mites,
who feed on spider mites that attack many crops, Sadeh explained.
the predatory mites was a container of larger insects, brown beetles that feed
on millie bugs. Some of the pesticide insects are sold live, in tube dispensers,
while others are stored as parasites in dead aphids, ready to be spread on
plants and hatch.
“We call them mummies – inside this aphid, there is a
developing parasitoid,” Sadeh explained.
The company, true to its name,
also was marketing boxes of bumblebees on slathers of honeycomb to be used for
Another company focusing on water, Amiad, launched
five new filtration products at AgriTech, with technology based on polymers
only, the company said. The company expects that the five new products –
developed by Amiad and its subsidiary Arkal – will save money and reduce water
consumption in irrigation.
Many of the large, black filtration systems
help increase flow rate, protect irrigation systems and their membranes and have
Nearby the Amiad setup, the Water Authority had
arranged a large walk-through venue, where visitors could identify their home
region on colorful maps of Israel and examine how much water on average is lost
in evaporation per year, and how much precipitation the region receives. Among
the placards were various LCD touchscreens, where residents could calculate how
much water they should be showering on their home gardens each, based on garden
size and average region climate for the past decade.
This way, people
will not need to waste water and money by providing their gardens with more
irrigation than necessary, Water Authority spokesman Uri Schor told the
Outside the pavilion, in the outdoor exhibition area, the Water
Authority had also set up a 120-square-meter garden, laden with about 30 types
of plants, most of which do not consume a lot of water but many of which bear
colorful flowers and leaves. Rather than planting only roses and flowers, which
consume large amounts of water, people can revamp their gardens with
water-saving plants, like succulents, and reduce their water usage by about
30-40%, Schor said.
Among the plants and carefully manicured stone and
wooden paths within the tiny garden, people took turns relaxing in round, straw
lawn pods, taking a break from the business of the exhibition inside.