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Made in Israel: Agriculture

Gordon Robertson looks at Israel's remarkable agricultural innovation, with special focus on the role of the kibbutz in Israel's agricultural success, growing crops and orchards in desert, rocky land and swamps with hard work and ingenuity. Read Transcript


Reporter: IN 1867, MARK

TWAIN TOURED THE LAND OF

ISRAEL, KNOWN BACK THEM AS

PALESTINIAN.

HERE IS HOW HE DESCRIBED IT,

IS DESOLATE COUNTRY WHO'S

SOILS IS RICH ENOUGH, BUT

GIVEN OVER WHOLLY TO WEEDS.

THERE WAS HARDLY A TREE OR A

SHRUB ANYWHERE.

PALESTINIAN SITS IN SACK

CLOTH AND ASHES, DESOLATE

AND UNLOVELY.

TODAY MARK TWAIN WOULDN'T

EVEN RECOGNIZE THIS LAND.

OUT OF ROCKY SOIL, OUT OF

SWAMPS, AND EVEN OUT OF

DESERTS, ISRAELIS HAVE

CREATED GARDENS, VINEYARDS,

AND FARMS WITH SOME OF THE

MOST INNOVATIVE TECHNIQUES

IN THE WORLD.

,000

THERE WAS JUST THIS

COUNTRY WITH FOOD AND PEOPLE

AND SENSE OF FAMILY, AND

OPEN A SENSE OF BELONGING.

IT HAS BEEN SAID THAT THE

MODERN STATE OF ISRAEL WAS

BORN ON THE KABUT.

THE KABUTZ IS THE CORNER

STONE OF A LOT OF THINGS IN

SOCIETY.

IT BECAME A VERY, VERY

EFFECTIVE WAY TO DEFEND THE

LAND AND GET YOUNG PEOPLE TO

ENGAGE IN AGRICULTURE, AND

THE JEWS WERE FORBID IN MOST

PARTS OF THE LAND TO OWN THE

LAND OR WORK THE LAND.

JEWS COULDN'T BE FARMERS.

AND TO ALL OF A SUDDEN SEE

JURIS FARMING THELAND IN A

COLLECTIVE ENVIRONMENT WAS

AMAZING.

BEFORE THE JEWS BECAME A

STATE, THEY CAME TO WORK.

BUT WHEN THEY ARRIVED IN THE

PROMISED LAND, IT WASN'T

EXACTLY FLOWING WITH MILK

AND HONEY.

THE COASTAL PLAINS WERE

SWAMPY, AND THE GALILEE WAS

ROCKY, AND THE SOUTHERN HALF

OF THE COUNTRY WAS MOST THE

DESERT.

THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL LEFT

OUR HOMELAND 2,000 YEARS

AGO.

AND THE AREA WAS

MISMANAGED.

SO WE WANT TO PRESERVE AND

REHABILITATE THIS LAND.

THEY FACED A NUMBER OF

OBSTACLES, FROM BAD SOIL TO

RAIDERS.

BUT THEY FACED A BIGGER EN

NE THA EN -- ENEMY THAT

THREATENED TO DESTROY THE

STATE BEFORE IT EVEN BEGAN.

IN THE EARLY CENTURIES,

ISRAEL WAS A FEEDING GROUND

FOR MOSQUITOS CARRYING

MALARIA.

THE ONLY LAND AVAILABLE FOR

JEWS TO BUY SINCE THE LOCAL

ARABS HAD DECIDED IT WAS

UNINHABITABLE.

IN 1920, MORE THAN A THIRD@N

OF ALL JEWISH RESIDENTS OF

PALESTINE THAT MALARIA.

SO WE NO OTHER CHOICE, THEY

WENT TO WORK.

THEY DRAINED THE SWAMPS AND

SPRAYED THE LAND AND CHANGED

THE FLOW OF WATER IN

IRRIGATION CANALS TO

INTERRUPT THE MOSQUITOS'

BREEDING.

THEY WERE SO SUCCESSFUL THAT

A COMMISSION FROM THE LEGAL

OF NATIONS VISITE VISITED

PALESTINE TO LEARN WHAT THEY

DID.

20 YEARS LATER, THE COUNTRY

WAS OFFICIALLY

MALARIA-FREE.

ONCE THE THREAT OF MALARIA

WAS GONE, JEWISH SET

SETTLERS WERE FREE TO MAKING

THE LAND GREEN.

CITRUS PLAINS REPLACED THE

SWAMPS.

AND THE JORDAN VALLEY NOW

BECAME THE COUNTRY'S BREAD

BASKET.

THE NEGAV DESERT BLOSSOMED

WITH NEWLY PLANTED PLANTS

AND VINEYARDS.

AND THE ARAVA BECAME THE

SITE OF A FLOURISHING

VEGETABLE INDUSTRY.

ALL OF THIS WAS ACCOMPLISHED

IN THE FIRST 20 YEARS OF

ISRAEL'S STATEHOOD.

IN THAT TIME, THEY MORE THAN

DOUBLED THEIR STANDARD OF

LIVING.

AND NOW THEY'RE USING THEIR

EXPERIENCE TO HELP OTHER

COUNTRIES.

IN THE 1970s, THEY CREATED

A NEW BREED OF CHERRY TOMATO

THAT IS DISEASE-RESISTANT

AND HAS A LONGER SHELF

LIFE.

AND THEY BREAD A NEW KIND OF

POTATO THAT CAN BE GROWN IN

HOT, DRY CLIMATES AND

IRRIGATED BY SALTWATER.

THESE VEGETABLES ARE NOW

BEING GROWN IN DRY

COUNTRIES, LI LIKE JORDAN,

EGYPT, AND MOROCCO.

ISRAELI SCIENTISTS NOT ONLY

FOUND WAYS TO GROW MORE

CROPS, BUT NEW WAYS TO

PRESERVE THEM.

GRAIN GROW RESERVES PROVIDE

A NEW WAY, BY KEEPING OUT

AIR, WATER, AND INSECTS.

THE COCOONS ARE BEING USED

IN PAKISTAN AND THE FAR

EAST.

THE KABUTZ OVER TIME

BEGAN TO CHANGE.

THEY BECAME MORE

CAPTIALISTIC, AND IN THE

INDIVIDUAL TAKING

RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIMSELF

AND THEREFORE BENEFITING THE

OVER ALL SOCIETY.

THERE HAVE BEEN MANY VERY

EXCITING COMPANIES THAT HAVE

BEEN BUILT IN KABUTZINE.

ONE OF THOSE COMPANIES IS

NOW DOING BUSINESS AROUND

THE WORLD.

THE AVERAGE ISRAELI 10,

12 YEARS AGO -- IF YOU SAID

ORGANIC, THEY WOULDN'T HAVE

A CLUE WHAT YOU'RE TALKING

ABOUT.

HERE WE'VE BEEN DOING

ORGANIC FARMING FOR OVER 40

YEARS.

THIS WAS FOUNDED BY

EFFIGIES IN 1934, AND MANY

OF THEIR EARLY MEMBERS WERE

SURVIVORS OF THE HOLOCAUST.

THE BIGGEST PROBLEM WE

HAD WHEN WE STARTED THE

ORGANIC IS WHAT DO YOU DO IF

YOU'RE NOT USING CHEMICALS?

HOW DO YOU GET RID OF THE

PESTS?

THEIR ANSWER WAS TO FIGHT

BUGS WITH MORE BUGS.

EVERY SINGLE THING IN

NATURE HAS A NATURAL ENEMY.

WHAT EATS OR ATTACKS THESE

PESTS THAT ARE ATTACKING OUR

CROPS?

THEY STARTED BREEDING

DIFFERENT INSECTS IN THE

BOMB CENTIMETRE OF THE

SHELTER OF THE KABUTZ.

THE IDEA WAS TO BREED

PREDATORS THAT DESTROYED THE

PESTS THAT ATE THEIR CROPS.

WE WENT TO ISRAELI

FARMERS WEN SAID, YOU WANT

TO BUY SOME BUGS?

AND THEY SAID, WHAT, ARE YOU

CRAZY?

EVENTUALLY THEY WON OVER

FARMERS IN ISRAEL AND IN 32

OTHER COUNTRIES AS WELL.

IN CALIFORNIA, 60% OF THE

STRAWBERRY FIELDS ARE

TREATED WITH PRODUCTS FROM

BIOBEES, AND THE COMPANY

FOUND A WAY TO DEAL WITH THE

MOST DEVASTATING INSECTS,

THE MEDITERRANEAN FRUIT

FLY.

WE TAKE THE MALES OF THE

SPECIES AND WE STERILIZE

THEM.

WE RELEASE THE STERILE MALES

INTO THE ENVIRONMENT, AND

THERE IS NO FUTURE

GENERATION, AND SLOWLY AND

SLOWLY WE LOWER THE

POPULATION WITHOUT USING

HARMFUL CHEMICALS.

AND THEY ALSO SOLVED

ANOTHER PROBLEM, HOW TO

POLLENATE GREENHOUSE

PLANTS.

TOMATO PLANTS IN NATURE,

IN THE FIELDS, ARE

POLLENATED BY THE WIND.

IN ISRAEL, THE MAJORITY OF

OUR TOMATOES ARE NOT GROWN

IN THE FIELDS.

THEY'RE GROWN IN GREEN

GREENHOUSES.

SO YOU DON'T HAVE THAT WIND

AND NATURAL POLLENATION.

YOU HAVE TO FIND OTHER

POLLENATION.

THEIR SOLUTION WAS TO

BREED BUMBLE BEES.

THEY COLLECT POLLEN FOR

FOOD.

THEY DON'T HAVE STORES OF

HONEY IN THE HIVES.

THEY HAVE TO GO AND WORK.

WE'RE SAVING THE FARMER

MONEY BECAUSE INSTEAD OF

PAYING PEOPLE, THE BEES ARE

DOING THE WORK.

AND THE BEES, UNLIKE PEOPLE,

THEY DON'T MISS A SINGLE

FLOWER.

SO ONCE THE FARMERS STARTED

USING THE BEES FOR

POLLENATION, THE YIELD OF

THE TOMATO CROPS INCREASED

BY 25%.

WE SAY, HOW GREAT AND

WONDERFUL ARE CREATIONS OF

GOD.

THIS REALLY SHOWS THAT EVERY

SINGLE THING HAS A REASON.

THESE TINY LITTLE THINGS,

AND LOOK HOW MUCH FOOD THEY

DO FOR US, FOR THE WORLD,

FOR THE FARMERS, AND FOR THE

ENVIRONMENT.

FARMERS NOT ONLY TARGETED

INSECTS, THEY ALSO FOUND A

CREATIVE WAY TO GET RID OF

RODENTS AS WELL.

WE BASICALLY USED TO TAKE

POISON IN A BOTTLE, IN A

TEASPOON, AND SOMEBODY'S JOB

WAS TO WALK UP AND DOWN THE

HOLES AND EVERY TIME THEY

SAW A MOUS HOLE, THEY WOULD

PLACE IT DOWN THE HOLE.

THAT IS NOT ECO-FRIENDLY.

WE SAID WHAT IS A NATURAL

SOLUTION TO RODENTS?

AND THE NATURAL SOLUTION WE

FOUND IS THE BARN OWL.

TWO OWLS CAN CAPTURE AN

AVERAGE TO 2,000 TO 5,000

,000 MICE A YEAR.

THAT'S A LOT OF RODENTS.

THERE WAS JUST ONE

PROBLEM WITH THE OWLS.

THEY FLY AWAY.

ONE OF THE PLACES THEY WOULD

FLY TO IS JORDAN, WHICH IS

VERY CLOSE BY.

IN JORDAN THEY WERE SHOOTING

THEM.

IN ARAB FOLKLORE THE BARN

OWL A SYMBOL OF DEATH.

SO WE INVITED THE JORDANIAN

FARMERS TO COME HERE AND SEE:çÑ=

WHAT WE'RE DOING.

THIS WAS OVER 20 YEARS AGO.

AND TODAY WE HAVE OVER 600

NESTING BOXES ACROSS THE

COUNTRY.

AND IT IS COOPERATION WITH

JORDAN AND THE PALESTINIAN

AUTHORITY.

THIS HAS BEEN AN AMAZING,

AMAZING SUCCESS STORY.

WE TOLD THE PEOPLE IT IS NOT

THE DOVE BRINGING PEACE

ANYMORE TO THE MIDDLE EAST.

IT IS THE BARN OWL.

WE'RE A LIGHT UNTO THE

NATIONS -- WE'RE SUPPOSED

TO.

IF WE WANT TO REALLY SAVE

THE ENVIRONMENT, IF WE

REALLY WANT TO HELP THE

WORLD, THEN WE CAN'T KEEP

THESE THINGS TO OURSELVES.

WE HAVE TO SHARE THESE

THINGS AND THIS KNOWLEDGE.

BY HELPING OTHERS, WE'RE

HELPING OURSELVES AS WELL.

EMBED THIS VIDEO

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