Earlier this week, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and Israel’s Ministry of the Economy formalized their partnership to leverage Israeli agricultural technology as part of JDC’s soon to be launched Tikkun Olam Ventures (TOV) program alleviating poverty among Africa’s smallholder farmers.
TOV’s partnership with the Israeli government will include the transfer of Israeli AgTech knowledge to experts, businesses, and smallholder farmers in emerging economies and the development of knowledge in Israel about both needs of smallholder farmers to promote innovation and about effective business models for reaching smallholder farmers. The partnership will also foster knowledge communities in Israel to disseminate and develop knowledge gained through TOV’s work in Africa, which is already underway in seven farming demonstration sites in Ethiopia.
“Israel has incredible skills and technologies to share that will make the world a better place and significantly improve the lives of many. TOV is a novel philanthropic model that creates the perfect public-private partnership to implement the technology and the training necessary to significantly improve the yields of the farmers which begins the journey out of poverty. It is incredibly exciting to think about how many lives we will impact over the coming years,” said Seth Merrin at the ceremony. Merrin is the founder and CEO of LiquidNet and is recognized for his ongoing efforts at the flagship Agahozo Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda, founded by his wife Anne Heyman (z”l) together with JDC.
TOV, which will be launched this fall, will provide farmers financing leveraged by a philanthropic loan fund, Israeli agricultural technology and training to increase and improve crop yield, and access to new markets to sell their crops. TOV’s operating model is based around the philanthropic loan fund – created with lead support from American Jewish philanthropists Seth Merrin, Laura Gurwin Flug, and Danielle Flug Capalino – to aid these farmers.
TOV is a program of JDC GRID, the organization’s platform for deploying disaster response and development interventions around the world, utilizing Israeli expertise to solve these challenges and encouraging Jewish community engagement in humanitarian efforts locally and globally.