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Strauss: the highly advanced face of Israeli agriculture.

Strauss: the highly advanced face of Israeli agriculture.


Israel got its independence just within a year after India’s independence. While India has a total area of 32 lakh 87 thousand sq km, Israel has that of only 21 thousand sq km. India is known to be an agrarian country, while Israel is not. It receives rainfall between merely minimum 3 to maximum 107 cm. Irregular rains, high and low terrain, proximity to desert land and the ocean have made their soil useless for agriculture. Moreover, the limestone level in their soil is higher. Yet the Israelis by developing a spectacular technology in agriculture and by reusing every drop of conserved water have brought an astonishing revolution in agriculture. Strauss Group is one of the names associated with revolutionary agricultural production in such land. Our monthly column Brand Stories includes the Strauss Experiment for agriculture lovers in Maharashtra. 

Israel is a newborn state in Western Asia. It was formed in 1948, but Abraham laid the foundations of the Jewish culture in 2000 BC. Abraham’s grandson Joseph created the Jewish nation by uniting 12 Jewish tribes. In 70 AD the Romans destroyed these states and renamed them as Palestine before declaring them as part of the roman empire. But the Romans did not just stop at annexing the jews. They also subjected them to religious persecution. Many Jews fled their country because of torture. Scattered all around the world, these Jews then founded Zionism. The Jewish people fought for their motherland for nearly two thousand years. And finally, Israel was born in 1948. 

After the formation of their independent nation, Jews from all over the world poured in. Israel’s population increased, and despite severe financial conditions, their national income grew with an annual average rate of 11%. Israel launched its first spacecraft within not more than 13 years and also reached a milestone in the creation of a nuclear bomb. However, Israel had only one problem, the scarcity of land and water due to less rainfall. Nevertheless, they overcome these difficulties. Their progress in agriculture was so robust that they successfully launched their waterless, landless crop experiments in several countries in the world. 

All electricity in Israel comes from nuclear power plants. This is mainly due to the scarcity of resources for natural fuels. 90% of land in Israel is nationalised. Very few people know that this nationalised land is given on nominal rent for cultivation. Their agricultural system has two types called Moshav and Kibbutz. In Moshav, a village of farmers is formed by distributing land equally among them and while Kibbutz is a form of collective community farming. Israeli cows are considered to be the best in the world. The average cow in Israel produces 12,000 litres of milk a year, double what Australian dairy cows produce, at 5,500 litres a year. 

The daily needs of immigrants from all over the world led to the birth of different industries in Israel. Similarly, it was delivered by characteristically industrious and research-oriented Jewish people. Wherever they went, they built industries in their country. There are so many Jewish researchers who have been awarded the Nobel prize. Jews are in sizable numbers in the American business world. Strauss and Elite are two major food brands launched in the period between 1933 and 1936. 

In 2004, Strauss and Elite merged to become a joint Strauss Elite group. Both entered the processed food and beverages industry independently at the beginning, and later on, joining hands, they left their mark in this market. Strauss Elite headquarters is located in Petah Tikva. Although starting off in such a small country today Strauss Elite products have created their niche in various places like Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania and South America. Ofra Strauss is the chairperson of the Strauss group. The company is into the production of dairy products, coffee, chocolates, salads and ice cream. More than 13 thousand employees all over the world and 2100 billion shekels is the Strauss Elite property. 

Eliyahu Fromenchenko, a Jewish entrepreneur in 1918, built a confectionary in his kitchen to start his business and started selling candies in the very first year. But he fled to Latvia after the rise of communism in Soviet Russia and the ensuing financial confusion. In 1924, he merged his business in Laima. He spent nearly ten years after that in Laima. But in 1934, he withdrew his partnership from Laima and went to Palestine. 

With his savings, he bought real estate and founded Elite. In 1934 Elite began its production and within no time his product Parra Chocolate reached the zenith of popularity. Parra Chocolate means cow chocolate. With ever-increasing sales, Elite had to build two more manufacturing units. In 1958 Elite founded the first Israeli coffee brand. Elite’s coffee and chocolate faced competition from Libre. But Elite overtook Libre by launching their chocolate bar Pesek Zman. 

In 1991,  Elite decided to enter the salty food industry, and they overtook Osem’s Bamba by launching their brand Shoosh. Then came the chips. Competing with Fritolay products, Elite launched Tapuchips and became popular. 

Originally Published in Yashashwi Udyojak. Subscribe Today.

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