Netafim, the world’s largest provider of drip irrigation services announced a $500 million debt financing on March 6th from Israel Discount Bank, Union Bank of Israel, Migdal Insurance and Financial Holdings, Mizrahi Tefahot Bank and HSBC.
The Israeli company is a leader in drip irrigation technology and is credited with creating the modern drip irrigation system. It also holds the patent for the world’s first irrigation emitter.
Israel has emerged as a leader in Agtech. It’s a small wonder why, the country is dry and received only 435 MM of precipitation in 2014 (compared to 715 cm in the US). The country is home to the first agtech focused incubator run by Trendiness agtech (Formerly Mofet Venture Accelerator), and hosts the AgiVest Conference. In 2013, Kaiima, another Israeli agtech company received a $65M investment in from Draper Fisher, Horizons Ventures, and IFC InfraVentures.
Rather than irrigating an entire field, drip irrigation concentrates water delivery at or near the root system. It has less runoff and subsurface irrigation results in far less surface level evaporation. It’s a monster at saving resources.
Drip irrigation is one of the most important innovations in modern agriculture. During the post WWII era plastics molding techniques and inexpensive polyethylene tubing made micro-irrigation systems possible for the first time. Netafim, the result of a partnership between Kibbutz Hazerim and a former British Water Agency employee, Symcha Blass, was able to patent the first drip irrigation emitter in 1959. Blass used a dripping faucet near a thriving tree as inspiration and pioneered a technique that resulted in less clogging in low volume water emitters by adding longer and wider passageways – or labyrinths – to the tubing.
Netafim also provides products for landscape irrigation as well as applications in mining and greenhouses.
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