Is­rael plan­ning to use crop, wa­ter tech­nol­ogy to win friends in Africa

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY AN­GUS MACKIN­NON

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.”

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