Agriculture Minister Oded Forer (Yisrael Beitenu) announced on Wednesday that his office will be allocating NIS 30 million to support farmers' transition to more efficient agricultural technology and machinery.
The first NIS 20 million will be spent on encouraging the implementation of advanced new technologies, with an emphasis on ones that do not exist yet in Israel or have been imported in the past three years. The remaining NIS 10 million will be spent on encouraging farmers to purchase machinery, automation techniques and technologies to be set up directly in their farms.
"Innovation is the way to fulfill the agricultural potential in Israel using Israeli technology," Forer said. "New innovations enable farmers to increase the production of each dunam decrease their expenditures," he said. "We at the Agriculture Ministry see large importance in increasing production and advancing the farmers," he added.
The move comes after agriculture workers have protested on and off since July against the government's plan to increase competition in the agriculture industry, increase the range of products available and lower the prices of fruits, vegetables and eggs for the consumer by gradually reducing tariffs for all fruit and vegetables.
The original five-year plan also included a broad support package for the agriculture industry that included direct budget support for each farmer per cultivated dunam, support for the egg industry, expanded tax benefits to encourage capital investment, support for complying with local produce marking standards, lowering the cost of farming inputs, and an investment of over NIS 2 billion for raising productivity in the agriculture industry.
The plan also stipulated that grants would be made available for farmers to purchase new equipment, and collaborations with start-ups will be encouraged.