Recently we had two delegations coming here to Israel to learn about Israeli agriculture innovations. One was a delegation of farm owners from Kazakhstan and the other a delegation from the Tyumen region in Russian (Siberia). Both of them were interested in the development of Israeli Agriculture. Among other things, we introduced them to the concept of Agriculture councils for production and marketing. Today I would like to discuss what are those councils and what do they do?

There are many models of farmer organizations in the world. Some are voluntary (a regional or production based gathering) and some are mandatory, fixed and set by legislation. The reasons for these organizations are numerous and among them are the challenges of production and marketing chains like cost of R&D, marketing and pest control. the underline causes for the creation of an agriculture council are the joined interests of producers and farmers to cut costs, quality control and risk management.

A combined collective of producers can benefit both the farmer and the end user. Those councils help maintain a high level of produce among its members, swift delivery and supply to end users and a reasonable price range throughout the year.

In Israel, all agriculture council are mandatory and are basically unions of producers in their respected fields. In contrast In the USA, those councils are voluntary and are only established if and when a majority of producers wish so. When such a body is established, all producers in a region (based on the sphere of influence of the specific council) are obligated to join. The need to ratify the existence of those collectives increases the incentives of those councils to work on the producers behalf. The ministry of agriculture is not a member of voluntary councils and because of that there is no immediate over-site.  In contrast, because all production and marketing procedures in Israel are regulated by low, the ministry of agriculture holds a much prominent position and had the power to influence much of what the individual farmer does.

Here in Israel we have several production and marketing agriculture councils:

Producers and Growers Councils

1. The plants council - An umbrella organization for the Citrus,  olives, fruits and vegetables sectors. It was established in 2004 after a consolidation of four different plant councils. This council incorporates more than 12,000 growers and farmers in Israel and helps them with issues like damages and insurance, research and development, pest control, marketing and sale promotion.

2. the Honey Council - Engaged in improving product quality, fraud prevention and the safety of honey hives. the Council is leading a educational marketing program about the benefits of increased consumption of honey, developing innovative quality control criteria and researching more and improved uses of honey.

3. Board of wine and vine - engaged in planting permits, studies and representation of winegrowers. the Chairman is appointed by the Minister of Agriculture.

4. Dairy Council - was established in 1965 by a government resolution. Serves as liaison between the various parties in the dairy industry: the Israeli government, farmers' organizations, cattle growers and dairies. the Functions of the dairy council are marketing, improving the professional level of dairies and increasing the texture and quality of the milk. In practice, the board is regularly engaged in planning and coordinating the management of Israel's dairy farming.

5. Cotton Council - was established in the early 50s of the 20th century as a government company, but in the mid-eighties became owned by the farmers. the council has a Volunteer framework. its role focuses on the organized marketing of Israeli cotton.

6. Poultry Council - representing the growers, marketers, consumers and government agencies regarding eggs and poultry meat. Its role includes data collection and analysis regarding industry trends, certification, mobility, disabling quotas for eggs, encouragement of the consumption at points of sale, funding research to improve production processes and caring for the chickens health.

In addition, there are several over-arching organizations that incorporate several agriculture and rural themes. One of those organizations is the Association for Israeli farmers and Rural Settlements. The association is not only an umbrella organization for Israeli farmers but also consists of groups or unions not directly connected to agriculture, but linked to the Israeli Rural lifestyle. It is divided into four "Departments": Producers and growers councils, Water associations, Regional development councils and settlers movements:

Association for Israeli farmers
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