On December 2, 2021, the Israeli Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Oded Forer concluded a three-day trip to Washington D.C. to strengthen Israel’s strategic partnership with the U.S. and other regional partners on agricultural issues. This trip included meetings with Senators, the USDA Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh, and senior executives at the World Bank to highlight Israel’s work on desert agriculture and mariculture.
Minister Forer told the Jerusalem Post, “[Global] warming is affecting America – certain areas need to change and adapt, and we have the experience to show how to do it.” Such partnership opportunities arise as water quality and quantity issues in major U.S. rivers become a greater concern.
The partnership would be focused on mutually beneficial research and development programs, investments, and the exchange of knowledge for critical agricultural issues affecting the U.S. and Israel. The United States and Israel have longstanding connections on these issues through the Bilateral Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD), which supports joint U.S.-Israeli research programs to tackle agricultural and food production challenges. Further research has been spearheaded by the Volcani Center, the official Agricultural Research Organization of Israel tasked with researching food security and sustainable, resilient agriculture. Both BARD and 2.
The Minister also announced several programs to share Israel’s knowledge regarding innovative farming techniques with the rest of the world. Such research would be instrumental for a world affected by climate change.
The Israeli Ministry for Agriculture announced that the World Bank agreed to examine regional cooperation opportunities between Israel, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, and the UAE. The announcement said that the hub would foster regional innovation for mariculture and desert agriculture in partnership with the World Bank and other regional actors. The hub will be based in the southern Negev desert.
The Minister also signed a joint statement of intent on cooperation with the University of Maryland and the Institute of Marine and Environmental technology. The statement detailed intended cooperation on mariculture and producing “healthy and protein-rich foods from the sea”.
This trip reinforces several actions by the Biden Administration to improve global food and nutrition systems. The U.S. also participated in the UN Food Systems Summit, chaired by Dr. Agnes Kalibata, where it emphasized its commitment to these issues. Dr. Kalibata, who is also the President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, met with Deputy Secretary Bronaugh to discuss these issues.
(Pictured below: Deputy Secretary Dr. Bronaugh and Dr. Kalibata)