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Israel invited to work with PHL dairy, plant industry, agri training agencies

By Alyssa Nicole O. Tan, Reporter

ISRAEL said it is willing to work with three agencies at the Department of Agriculture (DA) — the National Dairy Authority, the Bureau of Plant Industry, and the Agriculture Training Institute, following an invitation from the DA.

“Since agriculture is the top priority also for the President, I just met with (DA officials) and we discussed a few projects that the department would like us involved in and to support, things like dairy farming, high-value crops and training,” Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss told BusinessWorld on the sidelines of a Hanukkah celebration with scholars sponsored by Israel’s MASHAV program.

“In 2023, the Philippines is a priority country for MASHAV (Center for International Development Cooperation), which means MASHAV will invest more,” Mr. Fluss said.

Regarding collaboration with the DA, Mr. Fluss said, “Coming out of the pandemic and the last few years, there were no meaningful programs, so we’re now trying to identify programs that will then continue for a few years. For this one, we need a strong partnership with the government here or other possible partners.”

“We’re still identifying long-term projects which will have an impact, be meaningful and we can continue,” he added.

Nir Balzam, deputy chief of Mission at the Israeli Embassy, told BusinessWorld at the same event that the Israeli mission is also considering working with the “DoST (Department of Science and Technology), on the innovation side… (specifically) with the TBIs (technical business incubators) that they’re operating throughout the country.”

Israel is also looking forward to collaborating with the Departments of Trade and Industry (DTI), and Education.

“What we’re trying to do with DoST, also with DTI, is to help in creating an ecosystem of innovation in the Philippines through introducing the Israeli model,” Mr. Fluss said, “because Israel is a leader in innovation, a number of startups and so on, so we’re trying to identify the relevant tools.”

“Some can be done with MASHAV, some can be purely business-oriented,” he added.

MASHAV activities in the Philippines include a three-week training program, a 10-day in-depth study program, both in Israel; and an agriculture entrepreneurship program, also in Israel, which runs for 11 months.

MASHAV also organizes visits by Israeli business delegations to the Philippines.