Israeli, Chinese officials.
(photo credit: courtesy industry, trade, labor ministry)
Israeli technology will be used to computerize the agricultural system of one
Chinese province, allowing government officials to quantify the exact amount of
food produced within their jurisdiction.
Israeli and Chinese partners
signed an agreement on the second out of two phases of a computational
agriculture pilot project. The signing ceremony was carried out Sunday night in
Tel Aviv with Chinese officials and the Israeli company Agricultural Knowledge
The first stage of the program will involve setting up
control systems to survey plant agricultural products, and the second phase –
approved during the ceremony – will allow for the monitoring of milk, poultry,
pork and other animal products. This is the first time an Israeli company has
been selected to be part of implementing a national Chinese government project,
the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry said.
Those attending the signing
ceremony included members of a Chinese delegation, Israeli Agriculture and
Industry as well as Trade and Labor Ministry representatives, designated
ambassador to China Matan Vilnai and global representatives of IBM, a partner in
AKOL’s “Agricultural Cloud” computing system.
They hope, according to the
Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, to bring more of agricultural “blue and
white” technology to China, while enabling Chinese agriculturists to calculate
and control the quantities of food produced in their country.
agriculture is considered one of the most advanced in the world, with farmers
producing 50 tons of vegetables per acre, compared to abou 20 tons in the rest
of the world, the ministry reported. Meanwhile, Israeli cows produce an average
of 12,000 liters of milk annually, and those in most other developed countries
generate only an approximate average of 6,000 tons.
This, the ministry
explained, occurs in part through advanced computerized
Implementation of the AKOL technology will allow the Chinese
government on a national scale to be able to control and closely monitor all
food being produced in China, the ministry said. After a Chinese government
decision to launch a five-year national program for food monitoring, the
government transferred budgets to individual provinces for pilot projects, to be
completed by the end of 2012. The provinces then began to search for
international civilian companies that have experience in advanced agricultural
fields, according to the ministry.
On the Israeli side, in late 2009,
AKOL – then its mother company Anat Kashev – turned to IBM global requesting a
partner in building its cloud farming network, and by 2010, the two companies
had begun developing a joint venture. In order to become part of the provincial
pilot projects, AKOL began conducting massive deals with province heads,
agriculture ministers and economic ministers, and the company also received
funding from the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry.
In June, the company
signed a cooperation agreement with the Anhui province, defining AKOL, along
with Israeli systems integrator BF AGRITECH LTD and Chinese company LONGCOM, as
the operational arm in the province.
During a seminar in which the
Israeli-led consortium presented its solution, Chinese government officials
announced that by the end of the year, they wanted to implement a pilot of the
computing technologies in all 13 agricultural zones of the province, the
“Economically, this project has significant potential to
increase Israeli exports to China and to strengthen government relations between
the two countries,” said Noa Asher, head of the International Support and
Finance Department in the Foreign Trade Administration of the Industry, Trade
and Labor Ministry.
Asher stressed that the ministry was concentrating
special efforts on helping Israeli companies penetrate the Chinese
“For over two decades, the State of Israel has maintained
cooperation with China in agriculture,” said Agriculture Minister Orit Noked,
emphasizing that Israel “recognizes the far-reaching changes that have occurred
in China economically and no less importantly, socially.”