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Israel Leads World In Vegetable Farming Advancement
The company, Hishtil Nurseries, is based at Moshav Nehalim, a religious moshav located just east of Petah Tikva.
Grafting – the merging of tissues of multiple plants together, to combine different roots with different stems or flowers – is a common practice all over the globe, but is relatively new in the vegetable world, Menni Shadmi, marketing director at Hishtil.
Much more unique is the specific niche that Hishtil is targeting with its grafting, creating vegetable seedlings whose roots are particularly water conservative and are fitting for hot environments such as those in Israel, according to Shadmi.
Grafting plants together for fruit-bearing vegetables began about 30 years ago in the Netherlands – with greenhouse fruits and vegetables like capsicum, melons and tomatoes – but “it was an isolated market share fulfilled by local suppliers,” Shadmi said.
The process caught on at Hishtil about 15 years ago, and only in the past couple of years has the company begun to enter the international market with its seedlings tailored to hot climates.
Grafting in general caught on after bans on methyl bromide went into effect across the world, “giving the growers no choices for soil fumigation” and thereby paving the way for the spread of soil-borne diseases, Shadmi explained.
“This took a heavy toll from the yield of the vegetables,” he said.
Grafting for vegetables – “a combination of very strong and resistant root, stalk and scions [the fruitbearing portion]” – generated vegetable plants that were immune to many of the most harmful soil diseases, according to Shadmi.