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What Are You Cultivating?



“Be proud of who you are, not where you happened to be born."


I was born in a young, miniature, fragile country with few people and little land, two-thirds of which is a desert.

As a child, I looked for reasons to be proud of my country and where we were #1; the bigger, the higher, the stronger, the smarter. Everybody wishes to be #1, isn’t it?

I remember in third grade; I was hopelessly looking for countries that Israel outperforms in size. I looked on the map, but those were hard to find (look for Israel on the map, and you will understand what I mean). I was disappointed.

Years passed, and I realized that true greatness is within us, unrelated to the physical size of our land, country, etc.

In my twenties, I searched for meaning, trying to figure out what mattered to me. I discovered that I cared about things that can't be measured in numbers, e.g., kilograms, kilometers, hectares, or money.

Born and raised on a Kibbutz, everything I did from childhood was agriculture-related. Everything related to agriculture was focused on improving the metrics of kilograms/tons, income, price, etc.

My Kibbutz was economically established, a well-working and successful agro-industry. But I was looking for something else.

It seems to me I could better express myself and bring good if I focus on matters I care about, which impact many. Well, I cared about People, Environment, and Health, all related to agriculture.

It led me to set my goal to increase Farmers’ happiness and well-being.

I planned to achieve those by helping farmers to increase their income while taking better care of the Environment and Health.

I converted those ideas to my vision and mission, which guides me in my activities.

Vision and mission: To improve farmers' livelihood by increasing their income per hectare, from quality produce free of bio and chemical hazards, grown in a safe, eco-friendly environment to enable consumers to enjoy better and healthier food and life.


Happiness is unrelated to the size of the country or its natural resources, but as we see it may be quite the contrary. Source.


More years passed, and I found out that most farmers live in Africa, Asia, and LATAM, and many live in poverty.

I decided to focus on smallholders, believing they can bring the change the world wants and need, and I can facilitate and rash the process.



THE POWER OF SMALL

The world is big, but in my life journey, I took the lessons I learned from growing up in a small community where scarcity fosters appreciation and respect for the little and the few.

Together with my father and other Kibbutz members, I practiced agriculture on harsh, rocky hills filled with 2,000 years old terraces.

I learned to appreciate every square meter of those rocky terraces and the plentiful they can produce and generate for carrying hands.



The beginning (1948). My mother is on the far left.


Starting from nothing, we earned an income of $50K per hectare through hard work and cooperation in cultivating those small terraces.

It enabled my community to provide its children with good food, education, decent life while producing quality food for consumers. Our well-being and happiness skyrocketed.

When you don’t have much, you appreciate the little you have and are forced to maximize the economic potential from every squire meter.

From this, I took an important lesson, what creates value is not the size of the land but the person who cultivates it and the ecosystem within which he works.

Nowadays, when I work with farmers, I start by talking about maximizing the income from what they already have long before we speak of adding new orchards/fields.

The secret of success in reaching significant achievements lies in having a clear vision and a roadmap to get you there. The rest is hard work and using proper field-tested proven technologies, services, business models, and ecosystems.

When you do this correctly, you can be contained and reach well-being and happiness even when your assets are just small pieces of land, as I was practicing agriculture on the hills next to Jerusalem.

Now is the time to apply this concept to smallholders cultivating their fields worldwide.



SUCCESS IS NOT HAPPINESS

I studied and researched agriculture and ecological entomology for fifteen years to promote what I care about.

Then, as a farmer in heart, I founded Biofeed, where my first goal was to create the technology and knowledge foundation needed to enable farming without or with fewer sprays and chemical interventions.

Not spraying meant you keep your environment and health sound and safe. But it also means higher income when you market your healthier and better quality produce for a premium price, even without organic certification (i.e., no-sprays are better than organic sprays).

Premium price means farmers improve their livelihood and get one step closer to self-fulfillment and happiness.


Now that you know WHY I founded Biofeed, I can share a second story of WHY I founded Dream Valley.

It all began after successfully completing the Grand Challenges Israel project in India (financed by the Israeli Innovation Authority).

In a swift development program, Biofeed completed the technological and field development, presenting outstanding field results (to say the least) for mango growers.

Results were100% fewer pesticide sprays and 99% less fruit infestation (the project’s goal was 50%) compared to the commercial control plots.





A month passed, and on July 2017, I was invited to meet the Prime Ministers of India and Israel, Mr. Modi and Mr. Netanyahu. Satisfaction, success, and happiness were mixed.

I was confident that my journey had finally reached a safe harbor. Farmers would have higher quality and marketable produce thanks to this innovative solution.

This means they could earn more and self-sustain purchasing technologies and services that would help them to increase their income further and ultimately escape poverty and reach personal and community prosperity.

Everybody is talking about the power of technology, and here I am with the best eco-friendly technology, which is doing real-life, field-proven crop protection wonders without sprays.

I couldn't think of something better than the technological revolution Biofeed brought. I was undoubtedly unprepared to accept that my recent tech development is completing one part of the chain while the chain remains broken.

I was about to discover the sad truth that smallholders are doomed to remain in poverty unless there is a complete high-quality value chain.

Someone must fix that chain to change this and bring the long-needed change. Yet, I didn't understand this then, nor the complexity of the situation and the missing parts. It took me three more years to understand that malfunction before I could devise a solution.



DISILLUSIONMENT

Luckily, Biofeed’s technological success didn’t blind me from seeing the naked reality from farmers’ perspective and the value chain, markets, and consumers.

After the 2017 meeting with PMs Modi and Netanyahu in 2018, I extended Biofeed activity to Africa and India.

We worked successfully with hundreds of farmers, but since this work was still under the umbrella of development, models, and pilots, farmers received the technology and protocol for free.

When I followed the 2018 results, I saw that:

1) The professional aspects were no less than perfect; 100% spray decrease and 99% reduction in fruit infestation.

2) The economic aspect was more complicated, as explained below.

Farmers increased their income by over 100% (double), which was a positive outcome. But, for some strange reason, I didn’t see them reaching financial sustainability.

Although the tremendous income increase, sometimes by hundreds of percent, farmers still didn't have the finances needed to purchase technologies and services to keep growing their business as professional farmers do.

The video “The Story of Yacuobuo” demonstrate that dissonance well. If you watch the movie, note that CFA 15K equals $22, and CFA 100K equals 150$.


I was puzzled. Even the best technology, providing the best results ever, is insufficient to shift farmers like Yacuobuo away from poverty.

It took me some more time to learn that as long as Yacuobuo keeps selling his produce in the local, low-price markets, he will remain in poverty.

I realized that Yacuobuo needed a more comprehensive solution than the best technologies and services, although that was one key element. The lack of proper technologies and services was not the only reason Yacuobuo remained in poverty.

To reach prosperity, Yacuobuo and other smallholders need a complete cycle Package, not an inch less, or they would keep on failing, remaining in poverty.

Yacuobuo needed a tailor-made Package that included micro-finance, technology service, training, logistics, a way to reach the premium markets, branding, marketing, selling, etc.





At the end of 2018, I began seeing the tip of the iceberg of what we would need to do to create prosperity and bring happiness to the homes of millions of farmers. In 2018 I knew I had hit an iceberg, but I had no idea how to go around it or dissolve it.

Through decades of hard work, I kept faithful to my dream of bringing better livelihood and happiness to millions of farmers.

Biofeed is a successful company that achieved its goals and mission better than I could imagine. But it was insufficient to fulfill my dream of increasing prosperity and happiness among smallholders.

For my happiness, I had to fulfill my dream; for this, I had to establish a different entity with a different mission and goals.

For this purpose, I founded a new company named Dream Valley.

Dream Valley is dedicated to providing, as a service, the full cycle Package for smallholder farmers.

Today I know what I am cultivating and growing, and it is not technologies or fresh produce; it is – many people’s happiness.


From a farmer, I became a scientist, then an entrepreneur, a businessman, an opinion leader, a visionary of global change, and other titles. My journey so far has been exciting.

Twenty-two years ago, I introduced to Israel the concept that alternative crop protection non-spray solutions can be highly effective and hence not limited to organic growers.

Today, most Israeli fruit growers use several non-spray alternatives to control fruit flies and other pests in conventional commercial orchards. This was possible thanks to breaking through thinking and innovation.

It is time for an economic evolution in underdeveloped economies led by smallholders.

This coming change will benefit from novel technologies and protocols developed in Israel and perfected over many years and in over 30 different crops.

This change will operate in the frame of a unique addition, a field-proven novel platform, the Dream Valley, generated by a breaking-through business model and concept.


In 2021 Dream Valley pilot in Senegal helped Senegalese growers to double their income and Senegal double its mango export.


How about you? Are you interested in helping farmers and countries increase their income and export?

Are you interested in bringing prosperity where there is poverty?

Are you interested in advancing zero-spray regenerative agriculture instead of chemical-based food-growing systems?

Are you ready to participate in growing, branding, and marketing spray-free, healthier fresh produce that will reach all consumers as a global standard of the largest supermarket chains, unlimited to the small organic niche?


I invite leaders, stakeholders, investors, and businesspeople to join Dream Valley to take my dream, if it meets yours, to the global level.


IF YOU LIKE THIS COLUMN, PLEASE SHARE IT WITH FRIENDS WHO SHOULD KNOW ABOUT IT.


TAKEAWAYS

Ø FARMERS can generate high income from small land.

Ø HAVING LITTLE makes us appreciate the little we have.

Ø HAPPINESS is the ultimate goal one can cultivate in helping others.

Ø COMPLETE CYCLE PACKAGE, as a service, is what farmers need and want.

If you enjoyed the article, please share it with three friends and colleagues.



*** Mental and Economic Freedom Are Interconnected. ***


See you soon,

Nimrod







Text me: +972-54-2523425 (WhatsApp), or e-mail nisraely@biofeed.co.il


P.S.

If you missed it, here is a link to last week's blog, "The Magic 3C’s - Caring, Connecting, and Cooperating."


P.P.S.

Please look at the video series “The Agricultural Gap." I explain the historical roots of the agricultural gap between African and Western countries with short videos.

I see this video series as "uncompleted," as I am waiting to gain more confidence before completing the chapters with The Solution, as I perceive it.

If you like it, don’t forget to share it with those who need to see it and Subscribe.


Change Begins With A Decision

That The Existing Reality Is A Choice

And Not A Decree of Fate

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