Agriculture in Israel is quite advanced technologically and all its exporting farms are GLOBALG.A.P. certified. From major large-scale producers to single small growers, farming is backed up by computerized systems at almost all stages of production. The country exports fruit and vegetables around the world, with the EU as a primary destination. All good reasons for us to make a stop there on our TOUR 2013.

The GLOBALG.A.P. TOUR 2013 event in Tel Aviv was held in collaboration with fresh AgroMashov - International Fresh Produce Summit & Exhibition. The trade fair was a great success and was attended by Shimon Peres, the current President of Israel.

The 4-hour session opened with a keynote introduction by Brett Hickson, Chief Officer of the Standardization and Accreditation Department in the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. This was followed by a presentation given by Andras Fekete, Manager for Certification Body Administration & Integrity at GLOBALG.A.P., who highlighted the current status and trends in Israel. Dr. Yitzchak Skalsky, General Manager of Agrior and representing AKOL, Israel’s leading agricultural software company, showcased the latest technological tools for agricultural standards. Mrs. Tali Sarig, Quality Assurance Manager and Technologist at Arava Export Growers, a GLOBALG.A.P. member, offered a producer’s perspective on how retailer demand can be satisfied.

Around 50 certification body members, producers and exporters attended the event. We asked the keynote speakers and a few participants to offer their thoughts on GLOBALG.A.P. Certification in Israel. Here’s what some of them shared:

Mr. Tzafrir Haimi, Manager of Shahen Agriculture Co., a partnership of field crop production of Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak and Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, explained why GLOBALG.A.P. Certification is important:

“Firstly, GLOBALG.A.P. is a basic requirement from our exporters. This means that if we don’t have valid GLOBALG.A.P. Certification, we cannot market our produce to supermarkets in the EU. Secondly, we have been implementing GLOBALG.A.P. for around 8 years. During that time, we have experienced a constant improvement of our farming systems. This includes agricultural techniques as part of our IPM and also new software for recording our farm activities, developed and designed for GLOBALG.A.P. implementation. Thirdly, we really do believe that implementing Good Agricultural Practices serves us well, both now and in the future.”

Mr. Rafi Gamson, GLOBALG.A.P. Scheme Manager at the Institute of Quality & Control (IQC), a private certification body in Israel, highlighted the GLOBALG.A.P. tools, services and products that are most important to the Israeli market:

“Private farms and kibbutzim in Israel are basically aiming for GLOBALG.A.P. IFA Certification. There’s also a growing appreciation for the GLOBALG.A.P. Add-On System. We can see a rise in the number of applications for the AHP Add-On (Albert Heijn residue protocol) and keen interest in the new GLOBALG.A.P. Soil and Water Add-On. Also the translation of the GLOBALG.A.P. IFA V4 into Hebrew has greatly helped growers to gain better understanding and access to the GLOBALG.A.P. Standard and System.”

Mrs. Reli Noked, Quality Assurance Manager at Bereshit Corporation pointed out that all exporting farms are either currently GLOBALG.A.P. certified or members of a GLOBALG.A.P. certified producer group. In that respect the market is well covered. However, more and more GLOBALG.A.P. Certification is being implemented as a way of monitoring and inspecting farms supplying to the local markets. A good example for this is the Bereshit Corporation, the largest producer of apples, pears and stone fruit in Israel – 98% of their produce is for local consumption and only 2% for export (cherries).

“The Bereshit Corporation has two large packing facilities in the northern part of the country that are BRC certified. As part of our HACCP system of these packing facilities and the control of our suppliers (13 kibbutzim that also own the corporation) they implement GLOBALG.A.P. IFA at all of these kibbutzim's orchards to ensure food safety and traceability of their products as well as protecting the environment. GLOBALG.A.P. is part of our policy and the farms know it and follow it,"
 explained Mrs. Reli Noked .

In her presentation entitled “How Can Retailer Demand Be Satisfied”, Mrs. Tali Sarig, Food Technologist and Quality Assurance Manager at ARAVA Export Growers, emphasized the need for a good strong traceability system to control food safety and customers specifications.

View photos of the event here.

Check out our upcoming TOUR stops and join us for an inspiring networking experience at a regional event happening near you!

South Africa: 14 August 2013 in Somerset West
: 6 September 2013 in Harbin
Spain: 15-16 October 2013 in Madrid

For information on organizing a TOUR 2013 event in your country or region, click here.