Haifa Group – Center for Agricultural Research and Development

The researchers and scientists strengthening Israel's food security

We popped in to visit the Aaronson Farm, Haifa Group's R&D Innovation Center, where they develop advanced agricultural technologies that strengthen the food security of Israel and other countries around the world.

Haifa Group – Research and Development
(Orel Cohen-Haifa Group)

One of the issues that has risen on the agenda since the events of October 7 is the food security of the State of Israel. The question is raised whether our country is capable of independently providing for the nutritional needs of its population in terms of fruits and vegetables, without dependence on other countries.
The body that provides a technological solution in this area is the Aaronson Farm, the Haifa Group's R&D Innovation Center, which engages in agricultural research and development.
During the tour we accompany Gad Shahar, Haifa's Chief Agronomist, who explains the cultivation systems implemented in the greenhouse. Here they apply a holistic approach focused on improving the precise nutrition of plants, combining products and technological applications that are connected by a layer of monitors and advanced fertilization control. Gad also demonstrates a mobile 3D scanner that photographs and analyzes the plants' developmental trends.
Guy Shabtai, an agronomic R&D specialist, demonstrates an innovative system that simulates outdoor growing conditions, with lamps that replace sunlight, and vertical cultivation that enables high yield per small area unit. The cultivation is done hydroponically with the plants not being soil-bound and the nutrients dissolved in the water, while reusing Co2, implementing sustainable circular economy.
At Aaronson Farm they develop software-based digital tools and applications, including "Croptune" an application that can use a smartphone to provide real-time indication of the nutrient levels in the plant, using AI technology. For the farmer this saves precious time as he no longer needs to wait weeks for lab results.
We arrive at an avocado orchard demonstrating controlled-release fertilizer products. These work in a One-Shot method that applies fertilizer once a year, and it is gradually released according to the type of crop, ensuring a continuous supply of nutrients.
Motti Levin, Haifa's CEO, notes that the driving spirit behind the farm is the late Aharon Aaronson, who was a groundbreaking agronomist and discovered the genome of the wheat plant. Today, Aaronson Farm leads breakthrough technological developments and innovations in agriculture, with a focus on food security.