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Farmbiz

12 Apr 2016


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Making every drop count

The phrase ‘Every drop counts’ had always had special meaning for Israeli water engineer Simcha Blass, as it was one of the most important lessons his father taught him. Walking through a lane of trees as a grown man, he always noticed that one of the trees was much larger and greener than the rest. At closer investigation, he truly realised the meaning of this phrase as he noticed that a nearby water pipe was dripping and, in reality, feeding the roots of the tree with a constant but controlled supply of water, right at the source. With this the seed was planted for leader in drip irrigation, Netafim.

Growth driven by necessity

Since introducing the world's first drip irrigation solutions in 1965, Netafim has led the way by developing products that ensure that yields are optimised and resources are saved. Today, the company, looking back on 50 years of milestones, has over 3000 employees, 27 subsidiaries, and a strong distribution presence in 110 countries and manufacturing facilities in 16 countries.

As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and Netafim’s growth was driven by such necessity, a necessity to grow more with less. For Israel, being an arid country, water scarcity has always been part of its history and it was the necessity for water that drove the development of a solution that best leverages this scarce natural resource.

Finding a partner

After discovering the remarkable effect of slow and balanced dripping of water on plant growth, Blass developed a drip-based tube that slowly releases water where it was most effective. Searching for ways to further transform his discovery, he turned to Kibbutz Hatzerim. Kibbutz Hatzerim, a small agricultural community located in Israel's Negev desert, was the perfect match for Blass and his new invention. Building on the strengths of Hatzerim's manufacturing capabilities, experience and agricultural knowledge, Netafim's initial production facility was established in 1965. The facility was the first of its kind worldwide, establishing Netafim firmly as the innovative leader in drip irrigation.

As time went on. Netafim’s engineers improved the original model to develop the world's first online dripper. The initial design used spiral water passageways to form a laminar water flow. However, in an effort to improve functionality, a toothed labyrinth was incorporated to create turbulence within the dripper. A smart product got even smarter.

In short, Blass discovered how to produce higher yields from every valuable drop of water. This invention ignited a revolution as it offers a sustainable solution to increase productivity, save resources and finally fight food scarcity worldwide. Through innovative technology accompanied with continued support Netafim’s irrigation solutions cannot only increase crop production significantly but also crop quality by optimally meeting all of the plants needs with exact precision.

Evolving to a leader

From Blass’ discovery onwards, the drip industry has evolved for decades and drip irrigation has been installed in 110 countries worldwide. This represents 150 billion drippers covering 10 billion hectares that are maximising yield while saving precious water even in the most challenging climates on a daily basis. As Netafim's drip irrigation solutions rapidly spread worldwide, one innovative product followed another. Each decade brought with it new developments that addressed the changing requirements and demand across the globe.

Drip irrigation is gradually becoming the world’s leading irrigation method for crops. Netafim is and will remain at the forefront of this technology, as it has been for more than 50 years.


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