Good news is in short supply at the moment. Aside from the pandemic’s growing human toll, Covid-19 has disrupted all areas of economic life and triggered a ‘global hunger pandemic’. The number of people facing food insecurity in the world is set to increase by 130 million in 2020.
Yet, these last few weeks, it’s been heartening to see the steady drumbeat of agricultural and food system innovation continue unabated. So, for those of you in desperate need of some reasons to be cheerful, here’s our selection of green shoots.
Indian and South African Agritech companies get a boost
The Indian government has announced plans to fund 112 Agritech start-ups to help boost activity in this sector. These funds will be provided as part the government’s Innovation and Agri-entrepreneurship Development Programme.
In South Africa, Microsoft has announced an investment of up to R40 million in the agriculture sector. With a particular emphasis on supporting smallholder farmers to become commercially viable, Microsoft will appoint local tech companies to develop and implement solutions.
ClimaCell secures $23 million
Weather forecasting start-up ClimaCell, which was founded by Israeli entrepreneurs, has raised $23 million in its latest funding round. ClimaCell uses data gathered from a range of sources (including weather databases and smart devices) to analyze weather patterns and offer by-the-minute forecasts within a 500-meter radius. In agriculture, these forecasts can allow farmers to optimize irrigation.
Those of you who follow us or Israel in Kenya on Facebook may have been lucky enough to catch this morning’s AgriNow 2020 live event. The event was organized to celebrate the Kenyan students who completed an 11 month agricultural training programme in Israel. The event also showcased their agribusiness start-up ideas.
You can still catch the re-run of this event on our Facebook page.
Rockefeller Food Systems Vision Prize
This week, the finalists of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Food Systems Vision Prize are due to be announced. Designed to identify and amplify ambitious visions for a regenerative and nourishing food system, the Prize offers extensive support to empower communities to shape the food system they want to see by 2050.
Upcoming California-Israel Chamber of Commerce (CICC) events
Last but not least, the California-Israel Chamber of Commerce (CICC) will be hosting an exciting webinar tomorrow focusing on Israeli agriculture and technology. With speakers such as Professor Yoram Kapulnik (a member of our Strategic Advisory Board and Executive Director of BARD), Jacob Mualem Marom (Volcani Center) alongside Dr Michal Levy (Israeli Ministry of Agriculture), this event promises to be a great and insightful way to finish off the week.