Makhteshim Agan Group (MAI) announced the establishment of a new division focusing on innovative technologies for the agricultural market.

The new "Agricultural Technologies" division will focus on scouting, development and commercialization of technologies that can simplify farming.

MAI improves its ability to meet current and future challenges of agriculture by complementing the company's high quality, reliable crop protection solutions with effective, novel technologies for agricultural uses. MAI will leverage its deep understanding of agriculture needs and trends as well as its broad marketing & sales platform to integrate the activities of the new division.

MAI's new initiative will be headed by Prof. Uri Shani. Prof. Shani has a diverse and broad professional background in the agricultural arena having served in key positions in the academia, business and public arenas. Most recently, he served as Chairman and General Manager of Israel's Governmental Water and Sewage Authority.

He is chairman of Israel's Steering Committee for the Red Sea-Dead Sea Channel project, as well as Professor of Soil and Water Sciences at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Previously he served as General Manager of Arava agricultural growers and General Manager of Yotvata diaries.

Commenting on the news, Erez Vigodman, president and CEO of MAI, said, "As one of the world's largest agrochemicals company and a leading provider of market-driven off-patent crop protection products to farmers in 120 countries, Makhteshim Agan has developed a broad and effective business platform, as well as the trust and respect of growers worldwide. We intend to leverage innovative agro-technologies by bringing into play our global resources, strong customer relationships and deep knowledge of agro markets.

Israeli research and science have long-enjoyed a record of success in creating innovative offerings for farmers that help them to achieve greater yields and better crops in challenging environments. At MAI, we inspire to provide broad support to the farming community by introducing next-generation technologies across the many agro-markets that we serve. The establishment of our new Agricultural Technologies division will assist us in meeting our vision."

Prof. Uri Shani, who will head MAI's new agro-technologies endeavor, added, "I am delighted to head this exciting new endeavor by MAI. I view technology-based systems and solutions for the agriculture market as complementary to MAI's suite of leading crop protection solutions. Both offerings are meant to support farmers as they confront challenges of developing more food with scarcer resources. Given MAI's global platform and its passion for innovation and responsiveness to its customers, the company is in a unique position to assist technologists to shorten their time to market and reach broader markets."