Good leaders pave a path to progress with the ultimate goal of implementing and executing revolutionary ideas while inspiring their subordinates. Integrity, emotional intelligence, a clear vision, and an exuberant delivery of ideas and goals are all integral to a good leader’s personality.
Zohar Ben Ner, the CEO and Founder of SupPlant is one such individual. His ideas, innovation and leadership are revolutionizing the agricultural sector.
Zohar grew up in the agricultural community of Kfar Yehoshua in the Jezreel Valley; farming is in his blood. He chose subjects at school that were focused on agriculture and this love continued into his career. His contributions to greenhouse technology through the Netafim company in the late 80s’ are still applied in the agricultural industry today.
Zohar was given the opportunity to establish a Netafim branch in Korea, from where he managed the company’s sales and projects in Korea and Japan. He introduced revolutionary technologies, specifically soilless culture practices, irrigation control and fertilization, that have changed the way vegetables are cultivated in S.Korea.
The Bucket list of Success
With more than 30 years of experience in developing, marketing, sales, entrepreneurship and management of agricultural technology, Zohar is an industry stalwart. He was the VP of Marketing in the first company to offer plant indices for the management of growing boundaries in modern agriculture.
In 2002, he established his own company named BF AGRITECH which specializes in the study of the unique genetics of lycopene-rich tomatoes. It also exports agricultural measurement technologies to universities and research institutes, mainly in the Far East, China and Japan.
In 2006, Zohar contributed to the establishment of KAIIMA, a company that works in the field of genetics and cultivation. As a CEO and later as VP, he was part of a team that developed a unique technology for breeding varieties of plants. He later began to put together a team which would become part of SupPlant in 2012.
Over the past few years, Ben Ner has dedicated himself to AgroWebLab. This company has created an online platform and smartphone application to collect real-time sensor data from farms and provide continuous, actionable feedback to farmers.
“Basically, our product provides online information on the plants through sensors that are placed directly on the plants,” explains Ben Ner. The company takes things one step further by automatically controlling the water supply according to the information coming in from the sensors.
Seeding Soils with Innovation
SupPlant is a world leader in applying IoT technology to agriculture. It offers growers a unique product called GBI which optimizes irrigation to ensure robust yet sustainable yields. GBI is an artificial intelligence system which analyzes data generated from crops through sensors and translates this data into irrigation commands.
By changing the basic concepts of irrigation, the company’s unique technology saves water while improving productivity. The company is now in the final testing stages of testing its technology and implementing it for smallholder farmers at an economically competitive price.
SupPlant also handles turnkey vertical projects and works with large companies to implement proof of concept R&D testing.
The pivotal moment for Zohar in Agritech was in 1996 – it was then that he realized that people have the ability to get returns from plants and understand objectively what the best treatment is. It took till 2012 to secure the funds to actualize this vision.
Zohar believes it is important for leaders to create for their company a coherent vision based on connecting people to positive action. He understands that it is critical to give employees the feeling that they are an important part of the puzzle.
“It is equally important to have employees who embrace a positive attitude towards action and social added value,” adds Zohar.
The journey of a leader is incomplete until their ideology and their traits of determination, dedication, sincerity and compassion are passed on to the next generation of aspiring leaders.
Summing up that responsibility, Zohar explains, “A good leader is a charismatic and optimistic person who genuinely believes in the path he leads; someone who believes that failures are part of the process of learning and growing. Don’t be afraid to be bold.”