Israeli Technology for Sembrando VidaBy Jan Hogewoning | Sat, 04/11/2020 - 12:17
Technical expertise in planting trees and creating an agroforestry system is essential, provided the frailty of tree sprouts and their low survival rates. In the past, when the government poured millions of dollars into transforming abused land into restored forest or renewed agricultural land, poor results were ascribed to a lack of technical assistance for landowners. Sembrando Vida, now a year old, has already begun providing resources to 230,000 landowners across Mexico to create forest mixed with agriculture. However, critics have lamented that while it is easy to celebrate the number of participants and the number of trees planted, this says very little about the actual long-term impact on the environment. If not planned and managed properly, the rate of planted trees actually growing to adulthood could be as low as 2 percent.
One partnership is willing to change that. In March 2019, Minister of Well-being María Luisa Albores and Deputy Minister Javier May sat down with the founder of the Israel-Latin American Network (ILAN), Isaac Assa, to discuss how Israeli agricultural technology could be shared with the Sembrando Vida program. Israel has decades of experience with community-run agro-systems in often dry desert-like environments, also known as the Kibbutz. Mexico, in turn, has a large extension of dry territory. As a result of this meeting, a delegation of Mexican government representatives traveled to Israel in the summer of 2019 to attend the agricultural conference Agrisrael and to visit the institute Volcani and several agricultural companies. This set the basis for a collaboration between Sembrando Vida, ILAN and the Israeli Embassy in Mexico, which up to date has facilitated the donation of 50 drip irrigation systems, which will be installed with the aid of Israeli expertise. In addition, Marcelo Shottlender, President of the Center for Innovation Mexico-Israel, organized a series of conferences where agricultural methods were discussed and how they could be adapted to Mexico. These focused primarily on potential applications in southeastern Mexico.