Israel’s first digital crop marketplace expected in 2020

An Israeli official with the Agriculture Ministry has stated that a governmental initiative to digitalize and innovate its crops market would become operative by the middle of 2020. Tsipi Sabag Freidkin, head of the market research division at the Agriculture Ministry, said in an interview that under the new initiative, the crop market would work similarly to an auction: "The digital market would help the small businesses like restaurants and grocery stores to get more fresh, healthy and cheaper produce directly from the farmers, skipping the middlemen.”

Freidkin estimates that the digital marketplace would kick start in 2020 and by 2021 would become fully operational throughout the country. The initiative is sponsored by the Agriculture Ministry, the Finance Ministry, and the Israel Innovation Authority. The complex logistics of the technologies that would support the trading floors is yet to be decided by the ministries.

The Israeli government issued tenders that call farmers, entrepreneurs, logistic experts, and start-ups companies to bring up the best solutions for a new computerized, complicated system of trade and distribution.

The government hopes that electronic trading in fresh vegetables and fruits would bring the Israeli agriculture marketplace to a new era of advanced technologies and deal with current problems at the market.

These problems include a highly regulated market controlled by tight governmental grip, according to some experts. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a body of 36 nations of developed or emerging economies, has recently issued a report about the Israeli agriculture market.

The Israeli agriculture has introduced numerous innovations, such as drones, digital screening, robotics, and smart sensors. However, the industry depends on government-allocated water and land quotas, and the amount of allowed production is also usually regulated.

The government also controls the industry by implementing tariffs, customs, and sometimes bans imports of some crops from overseas.

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