Last updated October 11th 2018

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) announced a new initiative with Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry to bring Israeli agricultural technology and training to small farmers in Africa.

The project, Tikkun Olam Ventures (TOV), began with a pilot in rural communities in Ethiopia, “offering access to loans, business development training, and links to markets in addition to Israeli technologies that have been adapted to local needs,” the JDC says on its site.

TOV was first announced in late July and launched officially this week. It is supported by a philanthropic loan fund led by philanthropists Seth Merrin, the founder and CEO of LiquidNet, Laura Gurwin Flug, and Danielle Flug Capalin.

“Israel has incredible skills and technologies to share that will make the world a better place and significantly improve the lives of many. TOV is a novel philanthropic model that creates the perfect public-private partnership to implement the technology and the training necessary to significantly improve the yields of the farmers which begins the journey out of poverty. It is incredibly exciting to think about how many lives we will impact over the coming years,” Merrrin said in a July statement.

The project will include the “transfer of Israeli AgTech knowledge to experts, businesses, and smallholder farmers in emerging economies and the development of knowledge in Israel about both needs of smallholder farmers to promote innovation and about effective business models for reaching smallholder farmers,” the JDC said in the statement.

Pilot sites will include “Israeli drip-irrigation equipment and other technology, hybrid seeds, and specialized training in new technology and improved agricultural practices. In the first five years, the program aims to reach 5,000 farmers, and aid 22,000 of their family and community members, JNS reported.

Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen said: “This initiative is an important platform for the Ministry of Economy and Industry to give the developing world access to Israeli solutions to the challenges faced by so many. TOV, the outcome of collaboration between the public, private and NGO sectors, utilizes Israeli knowledge, technology and know-how to promote international development and improve the lives of thousands in developing markets.”

TOV is a program of JDC GRID, the organization’s platform for deploying disaster response and development interventions around the world, utilizing Israeli expertise to solve these challenges and encouraging Jewish community engagement in humanitarian efforts locally and globally.