President Xi Jinping's first thoughts when he wakes up each morning, revolve around his responsibility to feed China's 1.4 billion citizens. Bearing the Mandate of Heaven, Xi's main objective is to sustain the Chinese people's confidence in the ruling Communist Party of China. Amid a global pandemic, unprecedented rainfall, and contaminated crops, China's leader's mission is easier said than done. Meanwhile, roughly 6,316 km West of Beijing is the tiny State of Israel, with unparalleled agricultural research and technology and well-positioned to help satiate Chinese hunger for agricultural solutions. But has Israel’s food tech industry been paying attention to its potential as a solution to Chairman Xi’s predicament?
Just last year, when Israelis were remembering the 10 plagues inflicted on Egypt, a modern-day plague was afflicting China. In April 2019, the Middle Kingdom lost over 200 million pigs
to African swine flu. Considering that pork is the meat-staple of the Chinese diet (the average Chinese person consuming roughly 120 pounds per year), it’s perhaps not surprising that Beijing kept the news of the disease quiet to prevent domestic unrest. One result of this policy was that pig wholesalers were able to buy infected pigs for pennies on the dollar and resell them across China. The disease spread far and wide, upending the global meat industry. Pork imports rose 86%
this year, causing a price spike of 69%