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Updated: Jun 25

"Smallholders seemingly compete with industrial farmers. However, they play different games."


I could have been born in Barkasovo, a Hungarian village (now in Ukraine), where my mother was born, or in Pustelnik, a city in Poland where my father's parents were born.

Instead, fate brought my parents to their father's land, 2000 years after the Roman Empire enslaved and expelled my ancestors from the same land to Europe.

My parents established and built a Kibbutz, where I was born, raised, and called home most of my life.

Children are amazing little creatures; wherever they are born and raised, they view the place and situation as “normal”.

I viewed the Kibbutz as the most "normal" place on Earth, even though less than 0.0015% of the global population practices this lifestyle




Only a handful of social organization structure models have been used throughout human history.

Each era is predominated by a different type of organizational structure, one that is better suited to the changing environment, e.g., social, economic, climate, etc.

Here are the major historical human organizational structures models, with the period in which each began:

Hunter-gatherer societies - 2.5 million years ago; Nomadic Lifestyles - Prehistoric eras; Tribal Societies - pre-modern eras; Villages - 11,000 years ago; Cities - 6,000 years ago; Monastic Communities - 5th century BCE; Feudal Estates - Medieval Period; Communes - 19th Century; Kibbutz and Moshav - 114 years ago (since 1910), Kolkhoz, 107 years ago (since 1917).

Note that most models are no longer practiced or at a limited scale.

The tiny diversity in the structures of social organization over 3 million years implies that introducing a new model is highly complex.

In other words, a new social organization structure model appears only when an immediate, urgent, pressing reason exists.

The rarity of new social organizational structures is precisely why we should take seriously the emergence of two new types—Kibbutz and Moshav—in the early 20th century (1910). Later, a third model, the Communal Moshav, blended Kibbutz and Moshav elements also appeared. These structures suddenly emerged in a remote corner of the Ottoman Empire, now the state of Israel, marking a significant development in social organization structures.

Those new models were born from decades of farmers’ suffering and poverty, mixed with disbelief and mistrust that the existing village model would ever bring them the prosperity they yearned for.

Wait, it gets even more interesting.

After introducing the Kibbutz and Moshav models, all villages (called Moshava) disappeared, turning their organizational structure into either a city or a Moshav. Sometimes, part of the village became a city and the other part a Moshav.

Today, there is no single village-like functioning community in Israel.

Is the disappearance of all villages soon after the Kibbutz and Moshav models appeared a coincidence?

The old village organizational structure was gone in an extremely short period, while Kibbutz and Moshav social organization structures popped up everywhere.

All this was under the hostile governance of the Ottomans and later under the British colonization Empires.

Most importantly, the rural impoverished communities, once impoverished, mocked, and laughed at, became the symbol of the land, a source of pride for their novelty, vibrant society, agricultural and industrial achievements, prosperity, and, in fact, the backbone of an emerging nation in its most critical years.




For most of my life, I have viewed the Kibbutz and the Moshav as dinosaurs, creatures of the past that played a part in history but are now going extinct.

Furthermore, I couldn't see how they contributed to the present beyond maintaining their high standards of life and work. So, after being a Kibbutz member, I packed my things, said goodbye, took my family, and left the Kibbutz, seeking to do something meaningful, as the Kibbutz core values commended me.

Years past, my work at Biofeed took me to India and Africa to introduce its innovative zero-spray crop protection solutions for fruit flies.

During those trips, I visited many villages, met many smallholders, and made face-to-face personal acquaintances with many smallholders.

Those intimate meetings left their mark on me. They made me ask WHY about everything I saw and question the explanations I heard about the causes of smallholders' poverty.

Then, I asked another question: What should happen for smallholders to create and have a much better reality?

Year in and year out, I didn't have an answer to satisfy my curiosity and eagerness to crack the enigma of smallholders' poverty.

Then, three years ago, I began studying my family history and that of my Kibbutz and its origins in an orderly manner.

That led me to consider, for the first time, the possibility of linking poverty with the nature of social organization structure.

Suppose the social and organizational structure is indeed linked to smallholders' poverty. In that case, I must focus on structures with the most significant potential to help smallholders achieve their livelihood expectations in the 21st century.

Some historical structures were easy to rule out, such as Hunter-Gatherers, Nomads, Tribal, Feudal Estates, or Monasteries.

Finally, the Moshav model was also rejected because of two characteristics: (A) The Moshav model dictates a “one farmer at a time” shift from poverty to prosperity, versus the Kibbutz concept that enables the shift of entire communities. (B) The Moshav model required initial high equity capital to drive it, which is a significant barrier when considering hundreds of millions of smallholders.

Since developing a new model was out of the question, I was left with three potential socio-organizational structural models to drive away smallholders’ poverty: Village, City, and Kibbutz.

Villages: To continue with the existing model and hope for the best or upgrade it to meet 21st-century demands.

Cities: To encourage the abandonment of agriculture as a source of income and accelerate the transition of rural populations to urban centers.

Kibbutz and Moshav: To encourage shifting to a field-tested, proven working model that efficiently eradicates poverty elsewhere.


Which organizational structure can better do the job: eradicate poverty and create prosperity?

I went on a quest to study and compare those three alternatives.




Village — The concept was created 11,000 years ago, about the same time as the Agricultural Revolution began. Since then, the village organizational structure has remained nearly the same, reflecting social and business realities that are long gone. The good old model struggles to bridge the gap and rejuvenate itself, but instead, becoming more like a mini-city and less farmer-friendly. Home and work are unseparated, one, for smallholders, the same as it was 11,000 years ago.

City — The urban concept is much younger than the rural, yet 5,000 years old. For city people, there is a clear separation of the home and work concepts.

Unlike the village, the urban concept underwent a substantial business-oriented "facelift" that began in the 17th century and continues to this day:

(1) The Limited Liability Company (Ltd) concept was introduced in the early 17th century (e.g., Dutch East India Company, 1602) and reached the familiar configuration we know today in the mid-19th century (1855 in the UK).

(2) The Industrial Revolution (1760-1914) created abundance, jobs, and prosperity, attracting millions from the countryside. Although cities don’t produce food, hunger is more rare in cities than in rural areas, where food is produced.

Kibbutz - This concept was created in 1910, i.e., after the Industrial Revolution. Compared to the village and city concepts, it is a fresh-born baby; in today's words, we can call it a start-up.

It was created to practice agriculture. However, thanks to its innovative organizational structure, similar to that of a limited company, its users, the Kibbutz members realized its flexibility. They applied it to practically every possible area: industry (including high-tech), tourism, services, education, etc.

In the classic Kibbutz model, the concept of home and work is, on the one hand, fully integrated while simultaneously completely separated. To understand how this is possible, try to think of light, or photons, that exhibit both wave-like and particle-like properties, depending on the type of measurement performed.




As seen in the previous columns, the Kibbutz has separate yet fully integrated social and business arms.

Over the years, the social arm has attracted the public's attention with topics like children sleeping separately from their parents and the Kibbutz members’ meetings, demonstrating direct democracy at its best.

While Kibbutz's "social experiment" received ample exposure, too little attention was paid to its business arm, which has been responsible for its economic “miracle” for over 100 years.

A business system that enables a standard of living equivalent to the Israeli middle class (and often higher), with zero hunger and zero poverty in 100% of the Kibbutz communities, is not something to be disparaged, more so when the starting point is on the verge of poverty, and the environment, in many ways, is hostile. 

The Kibbutz's socio-economic strength and achievements result from its organization and production structure models.

The Kibbutz models are not remotely like those of the city and village but resemble those of the Ltd. Company with all the features of the assembly-line style concept.

Trying to compare a village's organization and production structure models to those of a Kibbutz is like comparing a horse with an airplane; no matter what you feed the horse, train it, or dress it, it can never reach the performance of an airplane.

For thousands of years, people, even emperors, used horses for transportation, work, and leisure, but how many people today go by horse to work or to their summer vacation?

Do you think it is coincidental that all villages in today’s developing economies and villages in the pre-Israeli era in the early 1900s suffered poverty, but from 1910, all rural communities called Kibbutz and Moshav began to prosper?

In Israel, the village-like communities (i.e., Moshava) didn't change; they were dismantled and rebuilt (by and with the same people) as Moshav, city, or both.

This is an answer for those considering transforming villages into Kibbutz or Moshav.

Cyril Northcote Parkinson, known for his best-seller book Parkinson's Law, believes that large, established organizations may have rigid structures that are resistant to change. To fix a significant problem, one needs to establish a new organization since the established one is unreceptive to the necessary changes.

It is imperative to realize that the 11,000-year-old village structure has no chance to compete with the new Ltd Company structure or that of a Kibbutz, created in the 20th century and proved its durability in the competitive business environment of the 21st century.

Expecting smallholders to pull themselves out of poverty by providing them with better technology is the equivalent of giving a cobbler a better hammer and expecting him to beat Nike.

The only way the cobbler can compete with Nike is if he changes his production and organizational structure from the pre-industrial Revolution to a post-industrial revolution one and then opens a company with a mechanism that provides it a fair chance to compete.

Smallholders' production and village organization structures are based on pre-Industrial Revolution structures, concepts, and methods; hence, they are continuously disadvantaged.

In contrast, the Kibbutz business arm is pre-designed to take advantage of innovative Industrial Revolution production methods and structures, such as economies of scale, mass production, efficiency, skill development, motivation, mechanization, innovation, and the production line concept.

The Ford Model T case should remind us of the importance of production methods and organizational structure.

In 1913, all car manufacturers used the advantages of the Industrial Revolution. Still, when Henry Ford introduced the assembly line concept, they had no chance against him, even though he cut the number of working days to 5 (short week) and the hours per day to 9 and doubled the workers' minimum wage. As a result, all car manufacturers had to shift their production to the assembly line concept to stand a chance of competing.

It is the 21st century, yet smallholders using pre-Industrial Revolution and pre-assembly line production structures; how can they ever compete and hope to reach prosperity? 

If you ask me, "What does the future hold for smallholders?" I will honestly say that I don't know. However, according to Dr. Adizes's Success Formula and the production and organizational structure models, smallholders cannot escape poverty if they continue relying on the village organizational structure and their traditional production methods.




Think of a young person who grew up in a village in a developing country, and put yourself in their shoes.

When staring in the face of the harsh reality, they see two options:

To stay in the village and be a farmer like his parents were and suffer the consequences: life in poverty with no chance to be part of the nation’s middle class.

The other option involves a trip to a city, finding a job, any job, and slowly climbing up the social ladder, gaining a real chance to become part of the nation’s middle class.

This scene is familiar in all developing economies. Often, young people choose to leave the village, hoping for a better life and future in the big city.

Until 1910, rural communities in pre-Israel territory under the Ottoman Empire consisted of only villages.

The youth dilemma today in developing economies is the same as it was over 100 years ago in pre-Israel territory. The young decide whether to stay in their villages or move elsewhere based on where they believe their children will have a better future.

But all changed in 1910 when the Kibbutz and Moshav became a third and fourth option for young people who wanted to practice agriculture but without the poverty part.

From 1910, young people knew that going to a Kibbutz or Moshav to practice agriculture meant life with honor and pride, life without poverty. So they stopped working in a village and instead established or joined existing Kibbutz or Moshav.

With this, poverty was eradicated, and the road to economic prosperity was paved.

Will developing countries in the 21st century choose to offer their youth the third option?




I am confused and don’t understand something; if farmers who live in villages are poor, why are Western farmers in villages in Europe and the US not poor, too?

This question must be asked.

To answer this question, we will analyze the agro sectors in developed economies through the prism of organization and production structures, as we previously did with farmers in developing economies.

When analyzing the agro sector in developed countries, we first note the current small percentage of farmers out of the general population, typically less than 5%, versus 20% to 50% in the same countries 100 years earlier.

Why didn't most of the farmers remain in the sector?

The West's merciless competition pushed most farmers out of the sector. They either abandoned their lands or gave them to someone else to cultivate.

Like in developing economies, the village organizational structure in developed economies also can’t help farmers.

Oh, and the 5% (or less) farmers who still practice agriculture did so by switching their business model to a post-Industrial Revolution one, applying advanced management and organizational techniques such as the production line, economy of scale, division of roles, specialization, efficiency, etc. We call such farmers ‘professionals’ or ‘industrial’.


In evolution, the better-fitting replaces the less-fitting. (A) 11,000 years ago, agriculture-oriented communities began displacing hunter-gatherer communities, and (B) since 1760, industrial-oriented organizations and communities have been displacing agriculture-oriented ones.




If Western farmers operate like Ltd Companies, and so do the Kibbutzim, then what is unique about the Kibbutz model? Why don’t we aim to make the farmers in developing economies industrially oriented like the farmers in the West?

Let’s begin with the second question.

Unfortunately, developing countries aim to follow the path of Western farmers, those who have already practiced post-Industrial Revolution methods for decades, and those whose path led most of their farmers to quit farming. For some reason, developing economies believe smallholders should follow the same route, even when smallholders have meager access to funds, technologies, knowledge, logistics, etc.

How can smallholders compete with Western farmers under these conditions?

In short, impoverished farmers accustomed to and practicing pre-Industrial Revolution methods don't have the finances or capacity to switch to post-Industrial Revolution farming—not at the moment.

Now, let’s address the first question: What is unique about the Kibbutz model over the Western Farmers’ Ltd-like model?”

Unlike the Western farmers, who one by one shifted their organizational and production model from pre- to post-Industrial Revolution models (all or most self-financed), the Kibbutz method achieves the same results but on a much grander scale, i.e., the scale of a community instead of individuals!

Second, Western industrial-oriented farmers must have access to funds and personal high, professional, and business qualifications to run a company-like organizational and production structure model. Many fail to do this, which is one of the reasons there are so few farmers in the West.

In contrast, the Kibbutz model, in which each member is responsible for a specific part of the "production line," makes it far easier and more accessible for untrained people, as my mother was, to succeed in the Kibbutz model.



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Dream Valley Fruit Export Program 2025 is now officially open for new exporters from developing economies who wish to export to Europe. Text me.



Here are ways you can work with me to help your rural communities step forward to shift from poverty into ongoing prosperity:

* Nova Kibbutz and consultancy on rural communities' models.

* Local & National programs related to agro-produce export models - Dream Valley global vertical value and supply chain business model and concept connects (a) input suppliers with farmers in developing economies and (b) those farmers with consumers in premium markets.

* Crop protection: Biofeed, an eco-friendly zero-spray control technology and protocol solution, is most suitable for developing countries.





Ø  The production and organization models used by smallholders and their villages cause their ongoing poverty.

Ø  Even people with little knowledge and access to funds and technologies can operate the Kibbutz model and succeed.




More on the October 7th genocide in South Israel:




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"Mental and Economic Freedom Are Interconnected."


See you soon,



Dr. Nimrod Israely is the CEO and Founder of Dream Valley and Biofeed companies and the Chairman and Co-founder of the IBMA conference. +972-54-2523425 (WhatsApp), or email




If you missed it, here is a link to last week's blog, “A Step-By-Step Model To Eradicate Poverty."




1)     Exporting fresh fruits from Africa to the EU under the Dream Valley regenerative protocol brand for the 2024 season.

2)     Joining the Nova-Kibbutz concept project or establishing a similar initiative in your region.

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Dream Valley is a field-proven disruptive business model based on the successful Israeli Model.


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*This article addresses general phenomena. The mention of a country/continent is used for illustration purposes only.

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