Mexichem will acquire control of the Israeli company Netafim for $1.5 billion. The Mexican company announced yesterday its plan to buy 80 percent of the Israeli group from shareholders led by Permira, the private equity firm that presently owns 61 percent of Netafim.

Growing populations, rising demand for food and an increasingly scarce water supply have led to demand for the micro-irrigation technology, which uses water and nutrients sparingly. The Mexican chemicals group seeks to benefit from the world’s changing agricultural needs.

Founded in Israel’s arid southern Negev region in 1965, Netafim has 17 manufacturing plants around the world, and 4,300 employees. It sells its products in 110 countries, including China and India. Kibbutz Hatzerim, the agricultural community where the company was founded, will retain a minority 20 percent holding.