Our Team


Our multidisciplinary team members have extensive experience in numereous international development and privately owned high-value agricultural projects in Israel and around the globe, spanning from Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia. We integrate project implementation and management capabilities with high level expertise in long-term planning, knowledge transfer, training, consultation at all levels, practical science-based research, and agricultural value-chain analyes.  

Dr. Efrat Elron

Efrat is the founder and CEO of Eco Strategies. She is an organizational psychologist and a biologist with a global outlook. She specializes in the initiation and management of international development and research projects, the analysis and evaluation of the cultural and social aspects of sustainable agricultural projects, the creation of intercultural bridges between individuals, organizations and societies, and the strategic and operational effectiveness of multinational security coalitions and peace operations.

In her previous positions she was a faculty member at the Hebrew University School of Business Administration, a Senior Research Fellow at the NATO Defense College in Rome and the International Peace Institute in New York, a research fellow at the Centre of Global Workforce Strategy at Simon Fraser University, the CEO of Middle East Trails, the project evaluator for the Israeli branch of the Society for International Developmentand, and the head of the international cooperation team at the Israeli Regional Initiative, an organization promoting a strategic Israeli-Arab regional agreement. She led and co-led international projects, ranging from a EU CIMIC (Civil Military Cooperation) project in Nigeria to a US Department of Defense study on learning and innovation cycles in operational military units in the US military and the Israeli Defense Forces. Dr. Elron continues to serve as a consultant in her areas of expertise to organizations ranging from the UN DPKO to the Israeli Aerospace Industries.

Efrat earned her B.Sc. in Biology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and completed her M.A. ad Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology at the University of Maryland. She is a certified group facilitator, mediator, and permaculture designer who traveled to more than 60 countries. Her personal passions include diving, hiking, reading, and excellent art in all its forms.  



Moti Harari

Moti is a senior researcher at the Southern Arava R&D (a regional center and part of the Ministry of Agriculture, specializing in desert agriculture) and an advisor to agricultural projects worldwide. His expertise includes off-seasonal production for export and year-around production for internal markets, irrigation and climate-smart technologies, plant extraction and natural food additives, commercializing medicinal plants, the development of evergreen pomegranate varieties, and the development of pearl millet varieties for arid zones. Currently Moti is working with Pomegranate farms in India, Sicily, and Mexico, takes part in agricultural planning for the state of Megalaia in India, and consults to agricultural projects in Sri Lanka focusing on export.

Projects Moti conducted over the years include the design and implementation of a demonstration farm and training curriculum for small farmers in the desert of Turkana, Keyna, post earthquake rehabilitation and upgrading of agriculture in Haiti, agricultural development in Karnataka for Tibetan refugees, Israeli technology transfer of pressure irrigation for desert agriculture in Rajasthan India, upgrade of date production in India's Kutch region, and the rehabilitation of degraded natural and agricultural areas in Mexico.

In his previous position as Chief Agronomist at Project International Inc. he was responsible for planning and implementing High Quality Vegetable projects in Australia, China, Japan and Venezuela. Other countries he worked for in the planning and implementing of agricultural development projects include Mali, Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Peru, Thailand, and Ukraine. Moti is the recipient of the Hanover Expo 2000 award for the development of "Land Shaping in India & Thailand", a World Bank supported project. He is the author and co-author of over 60 publications in professional journals, holding a M.Sc. from the Faculty of Agriculture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a member of Kibbutz Yotvata in Israel's Arava region.  




Dr. Avihai Ilan

Avihai is an agronomist specializing in agricultural capacity building, agricultural project management, and large-scale agricultural surveys. His main areas of expertise include horticulture development, plant propagation, fruit orchards and nurseries, plant tissue culture, and mini-nurseries for vegetable seedlings created specifically for small-scale farmers. 

In the past five years Dr. Ilan served as a senior consultant in a mango production project in China, agricultural surveys in Vietnam and South Sudan, and horticulture fruit tree propagation and micro-propagation projects in Madagascar and Uganda. From 2009 to 2013 Avihai co-managed the joint USAID-MASHAV-Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture smallholder horticulture program (SHH) and the Joint Technical Cooperation Programs, contributing to the strengthening of fruit and vegetable production and marketing capacities in Ethiopia through the training of farmers and extension services experts, the establishment of fruit tree nurseries, the introduction of micro-propagation techniques with pineapple, potato, coffee, and banana, and the plating of hundreds of thousands of quality avocado and mango trees.

Avihai's professional experiences include working for Rahan Meristem as Director of R&D and Managing Director responsible for the establishment of the company’s subsidiaries in Latin America; consulting for CINADCO in the supervision of a micro-propagation laboratory in Egypt; conducting a MASHAV/CINDACO survey of the plant biotechnology industry in Nepal, and serving as a coordinator of technology transfer for Jain Irrigation in India. In 2016 Avihai founded Micropropag, a facebook group with over 300 participants from more than 40 countries discussing technical aspects of micropropagation. Additionally, he teaches nursery courses to international students at Agro Studies in Israel.

Dr. Ilan received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Agronomy from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee. He lives in Kibbutz Rosh Hanikra, overlooking the Mediterrean sea.



Juan David Gomez

Juan is an expert in date palm growing techniques and technologies with more than 20 years of experience in Israel’s Arava desert region.

Currently Juan is the main advisor to SAHAM Agri corporation on the set-up and business planning of their 2000 hectare Mejdool date palm farm in Morocco. The farm is the largest Mejdool farm in the world, and will become fully operational in 2020. The work with SAHAM Agri includes cooperation with institutions at all levels as well as capacity development at the managerial and growers’ levels. Training includes field trips to Israel to gain familiarity with state-of-the-art date growing and post-harvest technologies.

Previously, Juan managed Kibbutz Grofit’s 100 hectare date palm farm in the Arava región for 18 years and was the head of the South Arava Date Palm Growers Association between 2004 and 2010. Having grown up in Colombia, Juan advises to date palm growers in Colombia, and has served as an agricultural advisor to the Colombian Embassy in Tel Aviv, strengthening the cooperation between Israeli and Colombian agro-businesses.

Juan studied Civil Engineering at  E.I.A. (Escuela de Ingeniería de Antioquia) in Medellin before immigrating to Israel.

 




Idan Eliakim

Idan is an agronomist, an agroecological farmer, and an educator. He is an expert in the design and establishment of Community Supported Agriculture Systems (CSAs) that produce and sell a wide variety of local produce. Idan is the lead agronomist of Eco Strategies' demonstration and training farm, where he teaches the cornerstone course on Ecological Farming. He has been teaching basic and advanced Permaculture Design Courses (PDC) since 2011 to local and international groups at Hava and Adam Ecological-Educational farm. 

Idan is the head of the Israeli Permaculture Organization, a member of the "Outdoor Learning Spaces" team responsible for integrating food forests with educational spaces in schools, and a consultant to farmers and organizations on the redesign and implementation of their operations into commercial enterprises based on synergistic integration, efficiency and sustainability. Currently he is consulting Kibbutz Tzora in its transition towards a communal landscape renewal. Formerly Idan served as the manager of the agriculture sector in Hava and Adam, responsible for a seven hectare experimental plot, a food forest, orchard, a market garden, and a seedling nursery and greenhouse.

Idan received his B.Sc. in Agriculture from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is expected to receive his M.Sc. in Agroecology at the Hebrew University by the end of 2019.



Dr. Miriam Silberstein

Miriam is an expert in plant protection, phytopathology, and entomology who is currently leading the Northern Israel Integrated Pest Management Project.  In her previous positions in Israel she served as the lead auditor for field agriculture under BQVI Israel, the SIT operations manager at BioBee (a company specializing in biological pest management), manager of the Fruit Trees Gene Bank & Nurseries, the scientific dditor of "Alon Hanotea" (the Israeli Fruit Growers Association monthly publication), and a high school teacher. In Jordan she co-led a SIT regional citrus growing project, and in Ghana she was part of a team establishing and training the laboratory staff responsible for the upgrade of ornamental and forest trees. With Mashav (the Israeli International Development Aid Agency) she conducted professional training on pest management in Vietnam, India, Kenya, Bosnia-Herzogovina, and China. 

Miriam received her PhD and BSc from the Faculty of Agriculture at the Hebrew University and her MSc from the Biology Department at Tel Aviv University. Following her post-doctoral training in the Botany Departments of the University of Bristol and the University of California at Riversdael she took advanced courses for agricultural experts in the management of business enterprises, quality management, organic agriculture, and internal and external auditing.   



Rami Ozinsky

Rami is an expert in the implementation of ecological, climate-smart and energy saving water technology and irrigation projects. His experience includes the setting up of water infrastructures in agricultural projecs in Angola, Congo, and Chad, and Papua New Guinea. In 2015-2016 he managed a 17,000 acre farm in Ghana owned by the Arima Group. His responsibilities included the upgrade of existing agriculture and water systems, the management of a team of international and local experts, and the creation of a specialized training program for local employees. 

Rami a graduate of a 2 year course in creative landscaping, and a member of Kibutz Tzora, located in the Jerusalem mountains. His previous positions include the management of the water systems & resources plant of the Kibbutz and serving as the Chairman of the kibbutz Planning Committee. Currently he is heading the Kibbutz' large scale ecological landscaping and gardening project.  



Keren Ghitis

Keren has been working in the International Development field for over 20 years.  She has extensive experience in project management, monitoring and evaluation, communication for development, participatory methodologies and creating and delivering training workshops. The organizations she worked for include the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), UN Women, the International Labour Organization, Anti-Slavery, Soros Media Centre, and the UK Metropolitan Police. The projects Keren managed were located in Africa, Latin America, and Europe, and focused on the issues of climate change, food security, conflict mediation, people living with HIV and AIDS, and women trafficking. 

Keren received her BA in Political Sciences, Journalism and Mediation Studies with honors from Brandies University, and her MPhil in Development Studies from Sussex University. Her fluency in English, Spanish and Portuguese has assisted her in effectively leading culturally diverse teams and collaborations across the globe. 



Nissim Sroussi

Nissim is an agronomist with an extensive experience in the initiation, planning, and management of agricultural commercial and R&D projects, including projects aimed at small-scale farmers. His main areas of expertise include protected high value crops production and advanced irrigation and fertilization methods.

For the last 12 years Nissim has been working as an expert with Mashav and CINADCO  (Israel's Ministry of Agriculture' Center for International Agricultural Development Cooperation). Positions he held previously include Director of R&D and knowledge management at G.A.R International AG (A global company developing alternative energy sources from plants), Director of Clinical Research and Regulatory Affairs at SPO Medical Equipment Ltd., and as CEO of Friendly Fung Ltd, a start-up specializing in friendly biological pest control products.

In Ben Gurion University Nissim served as the Director of International Agriculture projects at the Applied Research Institute, and as a Research Team Leader in the University’s Institute of the Gaza Strip and Sinai, developing irrigation methodologies, fertilization methods and best practices on growing vegetables in greenhouses on sand dunes. Countries he worked in include Senegal, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Morocco, a Native American reservation in the US, and China.

Nissim holds a MS. degree in Geography and Environmental Development from Ben Gurion University and a BSc in Agronomy from the Hebrew University. He recently completed his second MSc in Winery and Vineyards Science at the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Agriculture. He owns and manages an agroecological vineyard and its boutique winery in the semi-arid Northern Negev region.

When not at work, Nissim’s loves hiking, mountain climbing and photography.



Dr. Gideon Peri

Gideon's experience as an irrigation expert spans over 40 years and covers numerous facets of irrigation technologies and implementation: drip irrigation technologies in different climates, scientific and practical models for surface irrigation design and operation, and control and automation of pressurized irrigation systems.

Gideon held research and teaching position at Cambridge University, Colorado State University, the National Agricultural University of Mexico, the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology), and the Department of Agriculture at the Hebrew University. As a consultant he worked for the World Bank, Nippon Koei, Co., Motorola, Bermad, and Dan Sprinklers, He participated in the development, design, and operation of irrigation systems and capacity development projects in India, Spain, USA, Nepal, South Africa, Chad, Kenya, Mexico and Egypt.  

Dr. Peri received his BSc, MSc and PhD in Agricultural Engineering from the Technion.



Raz Arbel

Raz is the General Manager of TREKITISREAL, an organization specializing in the development of community trails in Israel, and an advisor on regional, desert, and eco-tourism projects to governmental organizations, municipalities, NGOs, and private businesses.

Ras was the General Director of Ramat HaNegev Tourism & Partnerships Department until 2014. In addition to being responsible for the planning, organizing, and marketing of all tourist related activities, Raz was the coordinator for the Partnership 2000 between Ramat Negev and the Jewish Federations of Denver, Las Vegas, Palm Springs. In previous positions Raz served as the General Director of Har HaNegev Tourist Non-Profit Association, Director of Sde Boker Field Study Center where he initiated a series of local innovative nature-based, and Assistant Manager of Marketing for the Israeli Society for the Protection of Nature where he coordinated and produced events promoting nature protection and hiking on Israel's trails. Between 2007 and 2009 he was the Jewish Agency representative in Colorado. 

Raz is a certified tour guide who still practices his vocation with international delegations. He received an accreditation in Regional Tourism Management from Rupin College, and has a diploma in Strategic Administration program for directors of non-profit organizations conducted jointly by Ben-Gurion University and Haifa University.



Kathleen Kouns

Kathleen's intership with Eco Strategies is part of her M,A. program in Emerrgency and Disaster Management at Tel Aviv University.

Her professional experience includes working with recovery initiatives in Mississippi and Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, and holding a position as the Senior Editor and Project Researcher for a prominent technology research firm in Boston. In the past five years she managed small independent businesses within the tourism and food-service industries in the United States and North Africa. As a volunteer in NGOs in Central America, North Africa, and Eastern Europe Kathleen focused on focused on humanitarian relief efforts and faith-based ministries outreach.

Kathleen completed her M.A in Biblical Theology from Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, and received her B.A. in International Business at North Greenville University.