Dr. Aida Pagtan, DA-CAR Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Information Section (RAFIS) Chief shares her learning and insights from her educational trip to Israel from August 20-September 8, 2023 through a Knowledge Learning Session with the agency’s personnel last October 10.
In her sharing, she presented the geographic structure, a part of their religious history, and ways of life of the people of Israel. Israel is a small country and the only Jewish nation in this modern world neighboring Arab states. It primarily consists of long coastal plains, highlands, and wide deserts that are about 60% of the country’s total area.
Kibbutz communities are accordingly strategically positioned communities near the country’s borderlines primarily to safeguard the border. Kibbutz is an intentional community that is holistically and systematically managed and is traditionally based on agriculture. The people there need to adapt to their situation and put their available resources to good use in order to survive. Dr. Pagtan, through her photo documentation, showed the beauty of the community’s transformation from a deserted land into a progressive agricultural land.
One of the major learnings shared is the ability of the Israeli people to innovate and live within their means given their challenges such as less water, less arable lands, and less stability including security needs and lack of domestic markets. They practice permaculture, which is designing ecological human habitats and food production systems. “Their concepts of water management are commendable,” Dr. Pagtan said.
The people of Israel are able to cope with the challenges and turn these into opportunities. One of the innovations made in agriculture is the transformation of seawater/gray water into agricultural use for crop production. They also use computer-operated technologies that automatically compute the appropriate amount of fertilizer inputs and irrigation water being allocated per plant. Thus, waste of resources is prevented. Aside from that, they also practice other agricultural technologies like biogas, hydroponics, and solar panels. Moreover, honey bees are incorporated in the rooftop gardens primarily to act as pollinators.
Israel’s concept of waste management accordingly boils down to the common understanding of its ownership wherein water resources belong to the public and are being managed by the government to the benefit of the people. Another concept is precise measurement, which according to the law notes that all water consumed must be measured and recorded. Centralized management and self-financing are also among the basic concepts followed for water management.
Through the learning session, the participants are encouraged to further innovate and maximize the utilization and, at the same time, maintenance of the available natural resources. The Cordillera region is fortunate to have been blessed with rich natural resources that primarily support the growth of agriculture.
In closing, Pagtan shared the social aspect of dealing with others towards better organizational working relationships. “Maybe we could change our way of thinking on how we deal with others because there is what we call social pollution and we want to avoid that in the organization” By JBAgrifino