Solomon Islands could benefit greatly from Israeli technological advances in farming, especially in brackish water agricultural methods.
Last week Fiji’s Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama hosted what his government called a Pacific Islands Leaders’ Summit.
The President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, in Fji for only 24 hours, en route to Australia, met with Solomon Islands Foreign Minister, and two or more Pacific regional leaders.
Arising from the meeting with President Rivlin, it was mentioned in today’s Solomon SB Herald news that Israel had offered 10 agricultural scholarships to the Solomon Islands and the details to be progressed in later months this year.
Israel is a major exporter of fresh produce and a world-leader in agricultural technologies despite the fact that the geography of the country is not naturally conducive to agriculture. More than half of the land area is desert, and the climate and lack of water resources do not favor farming.
Israel could provide the Solomon Islands with much advice and technological assistance in combatting climate change as it increasingly affects food production and food security at home.
In recent years, brackish water agriculture has achieved record strides and enabled Israel to export 50 percent of its produce. Cotton yields in the Negev outstrip those of California, Arizona, and Egypt; peanut yields are four times higher than in Georgia and West Virginia.
The Negev brackish water aquifers are one-quarter the size of the desert and contains 300 billion cubic meters. Even larger deposits are estimated to lie under the great Saharan tracts of Africa and in the third world, where drought and hunger are prevalent, food supplies inadequate. There, desertification has already claimed millions of acres, and every year encroaches unchecked on millions more. Hence, others are looking to Israel's experience as a prototype for combating hunger problems in the world's arid zones and successfully growing crops in salt water with genetically modified plants.