Israeli High-Tech Agriculture Companies Launch New Initiatives in Antioquia
Five Israeli high-tech companies in the agriculture sector, the Antioquia departmental government and Medellin’s Agency for Cooperation and Investment (ACI) just launched a new initiative to boost investment and productivity in Antioquia’s booming agricultural-exports sector.
According to a joint announcement from ACI, the Antioquia government and Israeli Ambassador to Colombia Christian Cantor, the initiative aims to further Israel’s world-leading ag-industry technologies and investments in Antioquia, while simultaneously boosting Colombia’s growing and profitable agricultural exports.
The five Israeli companies participating in the launch here in Medellin include:
1. TapKit, “specializing in large-scale hydroponic systems for fresh culinary herbs, micro-greens and vegetables based on its own advanced growing methods;”
2. Agritask, “which offers a platform designed to unite precision agronomy and business intelligence;”
3. ClariFruit, “provider of optimization software solutions for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry;”
4. LR Group, “which operates in the initiation, development, financing, construction and management of medium and large-scale projects in high-growth economies;” and
5. Bean & Co, “a global cocoa company that grows sustainable large-scale cocoa plantations around the world,” according to the joint announcement.
The initiative represents a “fundamental step to further strengthen the competitiveness of the [Antioquia] region in the agro-industrial sector in the lines of precision agriculture, irrigation systems and greenhouses,” according to the parties.
Colombia’s recently approved free-trade agreement with Israel is one of the key reasons for the new initiative — although numerous Israeli companies have aggressively pioneered investments here in Antioquia and Colombia especially in the last five years.
Commenting on the new initiative, Antioquia Governor Aníbal Gaviria Correa stated: “In these coming years, major transformations of our department’s competitive platform will be consolidated thanks to the construction of fourth-generation [high-speed, high-capacity] highways, the completion of Hidroituango [Colombia’s biggest hydroelectric dam] and the new ports of Urabá [on the Atlantic coast], among others. These works, added to the security and institutional stability here are key elements that allow us to invite investment from Israel and the world to our department and our country.”
Antioquia’s Secretary of Agriculture Rodolfo Correa added that “it is inspiring what Israel does in the modernization of the agricultural sector in areas of organizational models, technology transfer, efficiency and other advances and developments.”
Christian Cantor, Israeli Ambassador to Colombia, added that “agriculture is and will continue to be a main axis of relations between the government of Israel and Colombia. The companies that are presented at this event are among the best companies that Israel has to offer to Antioquia”.
According to the parties, “Antioquia has key products in the agro industry favoring exports and investment including Hass avocados, cocoa, citrus fruits and beef, among other products. In the case of Hass avocados, exports have grown by 40% in just the last four years.”
Managro Hails New Initiative
Asked to comment on the latest initiative, Israeli expat Chagai Stern — executive director of Medellin-based agricultural investment firm Managro — added that “we realize and promote the important partnership between Colombia and Israel. We have been doing so since we were established here in Medellin five years ago.
“Colombia has all the natural resources and scale that any country could wish for and Israel has the technology and know-how especially in the agriculture sector. That’s why we believe that the free-trade agreement between Israel and Colombia will only enhance the partnership and collaboration.”
Earlier this year, Managro bought Colombia’s giant “Pacific Fruits” packing and export company near Cali — boosting capacity for export of ag products including Haas avocados and mangoes.
Pacific Fruits boasts that last year alone, it shipped 250 ocean export containers of Colombian farm products to Europe, Saudi Arabia, Japan, United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong, tapping proprietary production in Antioquia and Valle del Cauca as well as contracts with ag producers in 14 Colombian departments.
As a result, Managro now administers more than 1,000 proprietary hectares of agricultural production including avocados, milk, mangos, lemons, oranges, guanabana, pineapples and corn.