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Agriculture and the Environment

A report that was submitted to the Sapir Foundation of the Mifal HaPayis Organization, addressed the need to protect rural spaces, and presented recommendations for applying "sustainable agriculture" in selected agricultural areas. The report was based on an examination of agricultural areas with different characteristics, reaching conclusions in light of their agricultural functions.

Four agricultural areas were studied: The Valleys (Jezreel and Megiddo), South Sharon County, Emek Hefer and the Adulam Strip in Mateh Yehuda County. In each region the characteristics and agricultural trends, needs and directions for development, and the extent that various tools to promote agriculture can be used, were studied. In the Valleys area, the work was performed under the guidance of a steering committee which included representatives from the counties, farmers and various government and public agencies. In other areas, the work was performed in cooperation with the county heads and heads of agricultural committees. Meetings were held at the Ministry of Agriculture, the Israel Lands Authority, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Finance, in order to identify practical measures to promote agriculture. A model was built to create incentives for public values of agriculture, and economic and institutional aspects were evaluated. Furthermore, several measures to promote agriculture were examined, where each one addresses a different aspect of agricultural activity.

This approach, which was introduced and promoted by the S. Neaman Institute, has been broadly assimilated by the Israeli public, and has led to significant shifts in attitude towards agriculture and the environment. Among the general public, and the agricultural sector in particularly, this new approach is being warmly embraced; furthermore, the Ministry of Finance has recognized the external contributions of agriculture, and is interested in promoting economic policy beneficial to agriculture.

Tags: Agriculture