Agreement Signed between KKL-JNF and Mexico’s COLPOS to Save Israeli Crops

Monday, October 30, 2017 5:11 PM

*Starring the Mexican ladybug

KKL-JNF and the Postgraduate College in Agricultural Sciences (COLPOS) in Mexico sign an agreement to import the Mexican ladybug as a safe biological pest control against the Cochineal scale insect, which has been infesting fields in northern Israel.
This past September, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an official visit to Latin America. He was the first Israeli head of state to do so. During the historic visit, Israel and KKL-JNF signed new agreements in Argentina and Mexico and strengthened ties in general with Latin American countries. KKL-JNF Vice Chairman Hernán Felman accompanied the Prime Minister as part of the official delegation to Latin America.
After visiting Argentina and Colombia, PM Netanyahu and Vice Chairman Felman continued on to Mexico.
"This is a historic journey. This is the first time a sitting Israeli Prime Minister has come to Latin America", said Tal Naim-Cohen, spokesperson for the Israeli embassy in Mexico. "The visit will open a new page in diplomatic relations with Mexico and Latin America", she added.
A series of bilateral agreements were signed, aimed at expanding the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Mexico and Israel that was signed in March, 2000. "One of the main goals of the visit is to foster relations with Mexico and broaden cooperation between our countries", declared H.E. Jonathan Peled, Israel’s ambassador to Mexico.
One of the most important agreements was signed between KKL-JNF and the Postgraduate College in Agricultural Sciences (COLPOS) of Mexico.
In the wake of a severe infection plaguing northern Israeli plantation fields caused by the Cochineal scale insect- a Mediterranean region pest of Mexican origin that had penetrated Israel from Lebanon- the need arose for a biological control plan to eradicate it. Towards this end, COLPOS came up with a viable solution: to provide a specific species of ladybug that eats these insects without affecting the plants.
The proposal was accepted, which resulted in the signing of the agreement between the College's President and KKL-JNF's Vice Chairman, in the presence of KKL Mexico representatives including Chairperson Patricia Katz de Saltiel and Executive Director Nissim Shasho.
As part of the agreement, millions of ladybugs will be transported from Mexico to Israel and released in the relevant areas so that they can naturally eradicate the plague affecting Israel's agricultural fields. This joint project undertaken by COLPOS and KKL Mexico further enhances relations between the two countries and shows that mutual cooperation always promotes great benefits.
On this particular occasion, the Mexican ladybug will be the main player – it will travel to Israel on a rescue mission aimed at saving the crops from the Cochineal insect.
"Afforestation is no longer the main task; there are new challenges that keep Keren Kayemet LeIsrael fully active and alive", stated Hernán Felman.