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"The exported Israeli seeds could revolutionize the American cannabis growing process"

After almost a year since removing the ban on the export of Cannabis seeds, the first ever Israeli cannabis seeds have been shipped to a foreign country. Cannabis seeds from seed company BetterSeeds were shipped to the US. BetterSeeds specializes in the genetic improvement of agricultural crops by using precise and advanced cultivation of varieties and adapting them to future agricultural needs.

On the right: BetterSeeds CEO Ido Margalit

Israel's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development released a press release detailing that, after nearly a year of mediations, the first-ever shipment of cannabis seeds has left Israel and has been sent to a foreign country.

This historic step was enabled due to the intensive efforts of Better Seeds (formerly Canbreed's) CEO, Ido Margalit, at the Medical Cannabis Seed Forum that resides at Israel's Chamber of Commerce Association's Seeds Division. The shipment comes as part of the implementation of government resolution no. 4490, which was updated in August 2021 to include the export of cannabis seeds from Israel. The move gives the Israeli medical cannabis industry a huge boost and is thought that it will lead to other international markets opening up to Israeli exports.

Israel is considered a leading global expert in cannabis research and development. In fact, contrary to public perception, cannabis research has been ongoing in Israel for many years but has been gaining momentum in recent years thanks to changes in Israeli government policy.

The historic shipment saw Israeli BetterSeeds' own hemp (cannabis) seeds being sent to the USA. BetterSeeds, an AgTech company based in Israel, uses genome editing technology, including CRISPR to develop new breeds of plants.

The hemp seeds currently being shipped are a product of the BetterSeeds breeding program, authorized and conducted under a research license issued by the Medical Cannabis Unit in the Israeli Ministry of Health. The seeds are set to be tested and evaluated by commercial hemp growers to verify their suitability for the American market.

The Planting and Propagation Material Department in the Plant Protection and Inspection Services of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, together with the Medical Cannabis Unit in the Ministry of Health and other bodies, have lent their support to Israeli companies in order to advance the exportation of seeds. The shipment marks the first time such efforts are bearing fruit.

The opening of seed exports in the cannabis segment is expected to bolster Israel's status as a center of knowledge and expertise in the seeds sector and of medicinal cannabis seeds in particular. The unprecedented Israeli export of cannabis seeds is expected to arouse interest from various researchers around the world and will further strengthen research within Israel itself.

Israel Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Oded Forer, stated: "The export of cannabis seeds is an opportunity to further diversify Israel's agricultural exports, strengthening domestic agriculture while taking advantage of Israel's relative advantage in this field, which is still regarded to be in its rudimentary phase. This being the case, Israel has the ability to make its mark and position itself among the world leaders. We must support the Israeli companies as they take their first steps in the global market."

He added: "I am working to strengthen agricultural exports from Israel on all fronts. I have instructed my ministry to grant assistance that will strengthen the local agricultural sector and enable it to be competitive in the globalized world. At the same time, we are also opening agricultural attaché posts in several locations around the world."

Meanwhile, Naama Kaufmann-Fass, Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, vowed to strengthen Israeli trading ties. "As part of my work, with cooperation from the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Oded Forer, we are going to penetrate more and more markets. Reality compels us to strengthen our trading ties with other countries - for example, by opening agricultural attaché offices in other countries and also in the form of the current export of cannabis seeds. We hope this shipment will bring with it further commercial successes," she said.

Commenting on the shipment, Omer Sela, the Seeds Division manager of the Israeli Chamber of Commerce, outlined the challenges facing the industry, "Cannabis seed companies face multiple significant challenges, starting from scientific R&D and coping with regulation - that until August 2021 prevented the possibility of exporting seeds and finding export markets and potential customers. We had the privilege to assist cannabis seed companies and help them overcome the regulatory export barrier. We will continue to stand by the cannabis seed companies in order to help them fulfill their promising potential, increasing the Israeli exports, GDP, and employment as well as strengthening the scientific and agricultural R&D in Israel."

The founder and CEO of BetterSeeds, Ido Margalit, said: "We are hopeful that this trial will generate positive results and impress the commercial farmers of hemp. I hope that once they are really impressed by the performance of our genetics, we will receive the orders. The exported seeds are unique and could revolutionize the American cannabis growing process and bring about the much-needed standardization. Our cannabis and hemp seeds are 100% stable and uniform. Most of the industry in the United States is based on vegetative cloning. They don't use seeds in order to grow the plants, and they do vegetative reproductions from clones. Our seeds will change this".

He added: "This export is an experimental shipment and a real achievement. It was not even possible for us to show to customers outside of Israel what we are doing because it was legally impossible to do so. BetterSeeds led the change of the law in Israel to enable the export of cannabis seeds."

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