Israel planning to use crop, water technology to win friends in Africa
Israel wants to use its cutting-edge agricultural technology to improve food production — and win friends — across Africa, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday.
Visiting Israel’s crop- themed pavilion at the World Expo in Milan, Netanyahu said cooperation with Italy in Africa would be top of his agenda at talks with his Italian counterpart Matteo Renzi in Florence on Saturday.
The Israeli premier, who is on his first major overseas trip since being re-elected in June, said Israel’s pioneering role in areas such as drip-irrigation, water recycling and desalination made it perfectly equipped to help bolster food security in Africa and elsewhere.
“We have ten times the population we had when the state was founded 67 years ago, and half the rainfall, yet we have no water problems because we were able to solve this with all these techniques,” he said.
“Now we are prepared - and are already doing our share to take this information to people around the world so they can have water, they can have crops, they can have cows that produce more milk and many other things that offer betterment for mankind.”
He added: “Italy and Israel are today cooperating in one African country (Senegal) to better their agriculture.
“Why one? Why not twenty, why not thirty? If we pool our resources, our knowledge, our technology we can help many, many countries in Africa to not only better agriculture and to better life (sic).”
In the section of his statement in Hebrew, Netanyahu was more explict about the diplomatic pay-off Israel could expect for such aid.
“People today around the world have a better quality of life thanks to Israeli technology and innovation.
“This is much stronger than any boycott.”