The International Agriculture and Food Exhibition in South Korea, Agrex & Food Korea, 2014, has ended about two weeks ago. A delegation of 8 Israeli companies, organized, accompanied and led by KOISRA, participated and exhibited in the area allocated for the Israeli companies.

The Exhibition took place for the fourth time in the Southern city Jinju and lasted 5 days between November 5th and November 9th. This year the exhibition was officially defined as Expo, due to the participation of firms and organizations from foreign countries, in addition to Korea, such as: Czech, Mongolia, China, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, and of course, Israel. The Czech delegation was headed by the Czech Minister of Agriculture. The Expo was divided into eight halls, while the total number of booths was 700, out of which about a 100 were foreign country exhibitors.

The area allocated to Israeli companies was represented by KOISRA, which was also responsible for the invitation and accompaniment of the Israeli companies. The invitation included an impressive benefit package including: a standard booth (3 x 3 meters) which included electricity, a printed sign with the name of the company on the upper part of the booth, a table and a chair, hotel accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner, transfers and local flight from Seoul, transfers from and to the airport and translation services, all were paid for by the organizer.

The Israeli companies which were invited to the exhibition were all leading companies in their realm, some of them were senior companies and others -startups. 8 Israeli companies have realized the unique opportunity and decided to take part of the Expo in South Korea:

  1. Smart Feed Solution – the company deals with development and manufacture of cattle food, in the cattle and milk industries.
  2. Growing Smart – the company specializes in counselling, entrepreneurship and execution of complex agricultural projects.
  3. Dorot Control Valves – the company manufactures gate valves for the water and agriculture industries.
  4. Gat Fertilizers – the company specializes in manufacturing of liquid and solid fertilizers for agricultural products.
  5. Aqua Maof – the company specializes in solutions for fish rearing and nurturing for food production, at sea and on land.
  6. BotanoCap – the company specializes in manufacturing and developing organic pesticides for agriculture.
  7. Catalyst-AgTech- the company specializes in manufacturing and developing insecticides for agricultural products, which include a self-neutralization mechanism designated for preventing a future contamination of the land.
  8. Adama – the company deals with developing and manufacturing products for protection of agricultural products such as fungicides, weeds and insects.

During the Expo, the Israeli companies met with partners and potential clients and had numerous meetings, which were accompanied by translators and by the KOISRA team. In addition, the translators accompanied the Israeli companies in their visits to the Korean exhibitors' booths, visits which allowed them to get familiar with the products and technological solutions in the local industry, as well as to form new business relations.

The Israeli companies saw their visit as successful, since beyond the new relations with potential clients which were established, the reception of orders and requests for offers, they also got familiar with the Korean market activity, and were exposed to the business potential of this market.

That was the first time that an Israeli delegation was invited to participate in an agriculture exhibition in South Korea. The invitation and the unique benefits package were delivered by KOISRA, together with the mayor of Jinju and the county governor, who acknowledged the added value of inviting Israeli companies, with their reputation as being among the leading companies in their realms, in the world.

In order to use this unique invitation as a lever and to further the interests of the Israeli agriculture industry, three individuals were invited to the exhibition: the commercial attaché of Israel in Korea, Mr. Shay Feiler, the head of The Bi-National Fund for Industrial Research and Development between Israel and Korea (KORIL-RDF), Ms. Deborah Schabes, and the Vice President of the Israeli Agricultural Research Organization (Volcani Center), Prof. Sheenan Harpaz. The three took part of the opening event of the Expo and the ribbon cutting ceremony, together with other honored guests from other countries, and then visited the exhibitors' booths and met with the Korean government representatives, among others.

After the opening event, a business seminar took place, which dealt with business and technological co-operation between Israeli and Korean companies, within the Korea-Israel fund. Mr. Shay Feiler opened the seminar with an introduction regarding the Israeli industry. He was followed by Prof. Harpaz from the Volcani Center who described the Israeli innovations and developments in the agriculture realm. The rest of the seminar was delivered by Ms. Deborah Schabes, who explained the financing options available for joint technological projects between Korean and Israeli companies.

KOISRA accompanied the official visit of Prof. Sheenan Harpaz from The Volcani Center, who visited the different exhibition booths and was presented with a review regarding the technologies being developed under the governmental research institutes in Korea. In addition, Prof. Harpaz held a meeting with the Korean National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, in which the strengthening of cooperation between the institutes was discussed (a MOU agreement between the parties already exists). On the third day of the exhibition, a visit to the Gyeongsangnam-do Agricultural Research & Extension Services (GNARES) located in Jinju, took place, where Prof. Harpaz met with the president of GNARES and a visited the installations of the institute and its greenhouses. The visit was considered successful, since the Volcanic Institute has been exposed to the potential of co-operation with the relevant research bodies in South Korea, which may further the commercialization of the Israeli technologies.

During the Expo, there were plenty of activities, yet in the evenings, the Israeli delegation members enjoyed reach dinner meals accompanied by local folklore shows. In the Expo as well as outside it, new business co-operations were established between the Israeli companies themselves.