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Israeli agtech companies take on worst-case climate crisis forecasts

20 9 17

As the battle to increase crop output faces off with ever-worsening extreme weather, Israeli agtech (agricultural tech) innovators are finding fresh ways to update and re-invent farming. Tech in agriculture is not novel but the agricultural field is taking its creativity up a notch as it adopts and devises new methods to change how farming functions.

“Climate [change] is becoming more unpredictable,” Matan Rahav, director of business development at Israeli agriculture analytics company CropX, told The Times of Israel in a videoconference call this month. “At the end of the day, farmers have to produce more food with fewer resources and less water and at the same time, we expect farmers to become more environmentally sustainable. So, the only way to overcome this is by harnessing and utilizing data and innovative technologies.”

A recently published NASA-led study showing how climate change could impact the production of crops as early as within the next 10 years has ensured the farming sector stays in the spotlight of environmental discourse. The research results reverberated around the globe as the study forecasted that maize yields could drop by 24 percent in some parts of the world “due to rising temperatures, changing growing seasons, increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and more erratic rainfall.”

The main takeaway from the study, published in the journal Nature Food, was that advanced climate models combined with crop projection models indicated that crops worldwide would be affected by climate impacts much earlier than had been previously thought.

“We did not expect to see such a fundamental shift, as compared to crop yield projections from the previous generation of climate and crop models conducted in 2014,” lead author Jonas Jägermeyr, a crop modeler and climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and The Earth Institute at Columbia University in New York City, told NASA’s Earth Science News Team. “A 20% decrease from current [maize] production levels could have severe implications worldwide.”

Local entrepreneurs and scientists in the agtech sector were not surprised by the findings.

“We know that global agriculture is already disrupted by climate change. The report focused on two small things, yield........

© The Times of Israel

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