General //

Our Demeter specialists comprise an exceptional team of experts actively engaged in agriculture, water and energy projects and programs around the world. Their breadth of expertise and depth of experience provide our clients with access to the very latest in research, technology, policy and strategic planning. Demeter specialists are, therefore, uniquely able to respond with relevant and appropriate solutions to specific conditions and needs wherever we are working.

Dr. Efrat Hadas is Deputy Vice General Manager, Economy & Quality Management, Investment and Financing Department, at Israel's Ministry of Agriculture, where she has worked since 1989. As the Ministry's Chief Economist, she is in charge of investments in agriculture; economic forecasting of agricultural trends at the micro and macro level; long-term planning and implementation of the agri-eco environment and agritourism. In the past few years, Dr. Hadas conducted economic assessments for local initiatives to develop agricultural products, such as a beehive project in Romania, a feeding facility, a pig-raising initiative, and a feed mixture plant in Russia. She also took part in projects of the EU (Hungary, Scotland, Germany, and more) and the US for assessing the impact of using carbon from electricity production and biocarbon from agricultural waste. Dr. Hadas has taught advanced courses on integrated water resources management in quality management in agriculture, global marketing and farm planning and fisheries-based management in Tanzania, Nigeria, China, Egypt, Kenya and Nepal. She has also organized a committee on the use of environmentally-friendly agriculture to stimulate economic growth and eradicate poverty, which included high-level experts from 27 countries. She serves as a board member of several organizations, including the Israel Wine Institute, and the Israel Wine Council, the Council for Citrus, Tomato and Corn Products. Dr. Hadas has a PhD in agricultural economics from the Hebrew University.

Dr. Mordechai (Kedmon) Cohen is head of the Planning and Strategy Team for Demeter AWE Holdings. Dr. Cohen is a world-renowned specialist in rural planning and agriculture strategy. He served as Director General of The Extension Service at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the State of Israel. The Service provides professional training for farmers, while developing and testing new techniques and methodology through controlled field experiments and evaluation. Prior to that Dr. Cohen served as Chairman and CEO of the Plant Marketing and Production Board at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. He has also served as Minister (Attaché) for Agriculture and Science at the Embassy of Israel in Washington, D.C., USA, Director, Rural & Agriculture Planning and Development Authority at Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and among other prestigious posts. Dr. Cohen earned a PHD in Urban and Regional Studies from the Technion (Israel Technological Institute) and an MBA in Finance from the Hebrew University. 

Yuval  Eshdat, PhD is Principal Researcher Emeritus at the Volcani Center, Agricultural Research Institute and served as Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2007-2012. Dr. Eshdat has broad national and international experience in plant and fruit tree sciences, biotechnology, horticulture and plant genomics and proteomics. He has held academic and government posts in the US, Europe and the Middle East leading teams at top research centers worldwide- including the Yale University Medical School, the Max-Planck Institut, Institut Pasteur, and Institut Cochin.  Eshdat served as co-chair of BARD (USA-Israel Bi-national Agricultural R & D Fund) as well as of the Egypt-Israel Bi-lateral Committee for Agriculture.Currently, Dr. Eshdat serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institution and is also a member of the Euro-Mediterranean Expert Group. He is particularly focused on the EU project: MEDSPRING (Mediterranean Science, Policy Research and Innovation Gateway aimed at increasing resource efficiency, and the availability of affordable, high quality food and energy. Yuval Eshdat holds a PhD in Biological Chemistry from the Weizmann Institute of Science and a M.Sc. in Chemistry from The Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Gabriel Blank is an economist, specializing in agricultural economics, analyzing financial and business systems, conducting feasibility studies for industrial, agricultural and tourism projects and managing agricultural projects in Israel and abroad. Until 2014, he served as an economist at Beresheet, Israel's large fruit marketer, for ten years. During this time, he provided consulting services and conducted feasibility studies for agricultural projects in Israel and other countries, including a dairy project in Vietnam for 30,000 milking cows, various agricultural projects for the Department of Agriculture of Croatia, dairy projects in China and Nigeria, orchards in Turkey, and a dairy project in Ukraine. During this period, Mr. Blank also served as CFO of two kibbutzim, Malkiya and Hulata. He has a BA in economics and management from the Ruppin Academic Center, Israel, where he also studied agriculture.  

Gideon Witkon After holding prestigious positions in various public institutions, Adv. Gideon Witkon, an expert on land policy, established his own law firm in 2004. Prior to that, from 1999, he served as Head of Land Development and Forestry at the KKL-JNF, a multi-billion organization in charge of developing land in Israel. Prior to that, from 1999 to 1994, he served as Director General of Real Estate Participations in Israel Ltd. and as Director General and Vice President of Ben Gurion University from 1992 to 1994. Before joining the university, Mr. Witkon was Director General of the Israel Land Administration and Director General of the Jewish Agency for Israel (J.A.F.I), as well as an associate member of the J.A.F.I executive. Before that, Mr. Witkon served in various capacities in government ministries and J.A.F.I. Mr. Witkon has vast experience as a professional consultant for rural development in Spain (Catalunia), Brazil (Nordeste), Chile, Mexico, Peru and other countries.Mr. Gideon Witkon studied Agriculture at the Hebrew University', Law at Bar Ilan University, post-graduate studies in regional and city planning at the Institute of Social Studies in The Hague and  the Technion, Haifa.

Jacob Meiri has broad experience and expertise in the planning and development of agricultural businesses and cooperatives.  Mr. Meiri currently serves as Business and Finance Advisor for the Israel Ministries of Industry and Agriculture as well as the Negev Authority for Small and Medium Businesses. He focuses on financial management, preparation of business and strategic planning, economic forecasting, raising of credit and liaison and representation with regulators and business officials. Jacob Meiri is experienced in the preparation of business software, the planning and development of community-level cooperatives and has designed, developed and conducted feasibility studies relevant to all agribusiness sectors. He has also been responsible for the design and development of family-farm growing vegetables, orchards and palm groves, with experience in fish farming and growth, as well. Mr. Meiri earned his Master’s degree in Economics from the Ruppin Academic Center.

Miriam Freund, a plant protection expert, served as Director of the Plant Protection and Inspection Services (PPIS) in Israel's Ministry of Agriculture, from 2008 to 2014. Prior to that, she was Deputy Director of the PPIS from 2001. Before that, she served in various roles in the Ministry of Agriculture involving plant protection – which involved research, inspection and regulation.Miriam has an M.Sc. in public administration and an M.Sc. in statistics from Tel-Aviv University, as well as a B.Sc. in statistics and a B.Sc. in chemistry from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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