PH to assign sci-tech attache to Israel

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 4 March) – The Philippines will be assigning a science and technology attache to Tel Aviv, Israel, parallel with the Mediterranean country’s project of accepting students from all over the world to share research and development ideas, especially in agriculture.

Speaking at Tuesday’s agricultural conference at the Marco Polo Davao, Israeli Ambassador Effie Ben Matityau said at the moment, there are 543 students from all over the world who are in Israel to study agriculture.

The envoy said Israel’s experience in agriculture has allowed it to innovate over centuries of climatic adversity.

“One of the mottos of Israel is ‘necessity is the mother of invention’,” Matityau said.

The Israeli ambassador said that the Philippines should take advantage of research and development efforts with agriculture, since it is a natural food basket, along with countries like China, Japan and Korea.

“The question is how to go on the road and improve the value chain,” he said. “You have a promising market, and some of them are here in the country.”

The students that study in Israel are given a stipend to stay in Israel and study agriculture, with a pilot project to culminate when they return to their communities.

The students are required to take back what they learned during their stay in Israel and teach their colleagues when they go home.

The program, he added, places importance in the value of technology as a very important part of the agricultural practice.

Under MASHAV (Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation), Israel has partnered with a university in La Union to do such a project.

Research and development ideas are beingshared between the La Union university and other partners from the program.

Matityau added that around 300,000 foreigners enter Israel to get training in agriculture under MASHAV.

In 10 years, the agency has built a partnership with 26 universities and colleges all over the world.

The envoy said his country is grateful for the Philippines’ historic partnership with Israel, when around 1,000 Jews sought out sanctuary in the Philippines during World War II under the Commonwealth presidency of Manuel L. Quezon.

Those refugees, he said, introduced their agricultural technology here in the Philippines.

In Israel, the country is able to invest in an export market worth at least $500 million despite only having 40 millimeters of rain each year.