Ramat Negev Research and Development

Ramat Negev R & D operates within the framework of the Ramat Negev Regional Council. It is funded by JNF, Ministry of Agriculture, the Office of Development of the Negev and Galilee, and the Settlement Division of the Zionist Federation.

The Experimental Center was established about 50 years ago as part of the project of setting up regional R & D's. Its main purpose was to encourage thedevelopment of agriculture in the peripheral areas, taking advantage of the natural resources.

Ramat Negev is a desert region with two different types of soil: sand and light loess. The average yearly rainfall is 80 mm. There is a big contrast between day-time and night-time temperatures. Brackish water can be found in underground aquifers at a depth of 800 to 1200 meters, and is pumped out of wells drilled by the Mekorot Company.

Taking advantage of all these conditions, Ramat Negev R & D focuses on developing advanced agriculture in arid conditions, irrigating with brackish water.

Ramat Negev R & D carries out experiments every ear to test varieties of olives, pomegranates, jojoba, rootstocks for wine grapes, tomatoes, peppers, fresh herbs and ornamental flowers.
The feasibility of irrigation with brackish water is tested on these plants, as well as a continual search for new products that are suitable to irrigation with brackish or salty water. Agro-technical methods suitable for desert conditions are developed.

Research work in the field of irrigation with brackish and saline water is carried out, studying methods of protecting the soil from accumulation of salt that damages the plants, as well.
Ramat Negev R & D is directed by a broad board of directors including representatives of sponsoring governmental offices, JNF, Office of Science, Ministry of Agriculture and the local farmers.

Since the goal is applied research, the researchers spend some time working in the Experimental Center and the rest of the time instructing the farmers in their commercial plots. The advantage of this system is that the knowledge accumulated in the Center is transferred directly to the farmers and problems that arise are immediately passed back.

This way we can establish a working program for the next year with priorities based on the farmers' needs. Ramat Negev R & D focuses on applied research and works in close cooperation with the farmers, the research instructors, and the academic institutions in Israel which deal with agriculture.

The extent of agricultural production in Ramat Negev increases every year.

Today the farmers in the Nitzana area grow about 1500 duna of tomatoes in covered structures, 200 duna of fresh herbs and about 150 duna of flowers. This area also exports the largest quantity in Israel of cherry tomatoes on vines (about 15,000 tons per year). In addition, Ramat Negev has about 5,500 duna of olive groves for olive oil and for olives, irrigated with brackish water only; 300 duna of pomegranates; 600 duna of vineyards for wine (and 5 local winemakers); about 5000 duna of potatoes; one of the largest dairy herds in Israel; one of the largest poultry farms for fattening and reproduction; intensive fish growing pools, that also recycle the water by irrigating the adjacent olive groves.

Recently, the tourist industry has been developing in the area. This includes private farms that produce unique agricultural products and that provide rustic accommodation in special desert environments.
You are welcome to visit "The Negev Foundation" site, that helps to " insure Israel's future through the Negev".

TEL.972-8-6557919  FAX .972-8-6557492

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