Corporate PR specialist Mike Evans (right above) was accompanied by fellow Guild member, freelance crops and agronomy specialist Robert Harris, on a study trip to Israel to learn more about farming and horticulture in the country, and its expanding agrochemicals industry.
“I organised the visit on behalf of Makhteshim Agan Industries (MAI) for half a dozen editors of global agchems industry publications and leading industry market research companies,” says Mike. “Robert was there to research and write a series of syndicated articles for use in 45 local country markets where MAI has subsidiaries.”
The trip started at the southern Red Sea port of Eilat and visited kibbutzim and privately-owned agricultural and horticultural units, as well as research centres in the southern Negev desert. Solar power and algae farms were also on the schedule, along with a helicopter flight over the Dead Sea and an adjacent potash factory situated more than 400m below sea level.
“We also visited the world-class MAI factory at Ramat Hovav, manufacturing for MAI and other ‘top ten’ agchems companies,” explains Mike. “But we also took time out to tour the Old City of Jerusalem, before a day at MAI headquarters with chief executive Erez Vigodman and his management team.”
Tel Aviv-based Makhteshim Agan Industries supplies products in 120 countries and will soon have six ChemChina factories to add to its existing production facilities in Israel and elsewhere having recently merged with the state-owned manufacturer.
“There is growing interest in the company now it has gained access to the China and South East Asia markets; it’s important that finance and industry audiences hear how the business will take a leading role in the manufacture of agrochemicals,” says Mike. “It’s best known as a manufacturer of off-patent products but the company aims to invest in research-based solutions, developing novel techniques for plant protection for the world market.
“Israeli innovation and entrepreneurship and the ability to develop agri-food enterprises in water-scarce environments will have a leading part to play in global food security,” he adds.