Central-and Northern-Arava Research and Development
The R&D activity in the Arava Valley was initiated in 1986 in the framework of Negev-Arava R&D, aiming to serve the developmental needs of the new settlements as they were officially declared high priority regions along the Israeli borders.
This activity was supported by the Jewish Agency for 11 years until 1997, when the Jewish National Fund (JNF) accepted the major funding responsibility with supplement contributions from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, The Ministry for Development of the Negev and the Galilee, Vice Prime Minister Office, The Settlement Department of the Jewish Agency, The regional municipalities (Central Arava, Tamar), The Plants Council, JCA, and private sponsors.
The R&D Structure and Organization
The Arava R&D activity is governed by a directory comprised by representatives of JNF, Central Arava and Tamar regional councils, Agriculture Research Organization (ARO), Agricultural Extension Service (SHAHAM), Plants Council, chairpersons of agricultural committees and sector coordinators. The role of this directory is to define the main objectives and the annual budget for the R&D activities.
The current activity is governed by an Administrative R&D Director, together with a Scientific Director nominated by the ARO, whose aim is to initiate, manage and promote research in the organization and to encourage researchers and other institutions to carry out research and collaborate on programs to support the regional agriculture and farmers.
The R&D includes seven sector centers: vegetables, ornamentals, plant-protection, orchards, organic agriculture, fishery, and produce quality. Each sector coordinator acts as the chairperson for the committee which is comprised of farmers, extension service staff, and researchers, who assemble to determine a priority scale for the major issues that will be encountered and solved.
The activities are carried out in experimental stations and farmers sites. The emerging knowledge is transferred to the farmers through everyday advisory, end-season meetings, internet newsletters and fliers. In addition, there are occasional open-days, lectures, and trips on various topics.
Central- and Northern-Arava Valley – General Information
The Arava region is located along 180 km from the Dead Sea in the north to the city of Eilat on the Red Sea coast, in the south. The width of the region varies between 3 to 10 km from the mountains of the Negev highlands in the west and the Edom Mountains of the Jordan Kingdom, in the east.
The R&D activity takes place in 3 agricultural villages (moshav) of Sodom Valley - Tamar Council (Neot-HaKikar, Ein-Tamar, and Ein-Hazeva (pvt farm)), and in five agricultural villages (Idan, Hazeva, Ein-Yahav, Zofar, and Paran) and two communal villages (Sapir Center and Zukim) of Central Arava Council. The regional public activities and services are located in Sapir Center and Yair Experimental Station
The population of the Central-Arava region is comprised of approximately (May 2013) 700 families (of which 530 are farmers), about 3,360 people, and that of the Sodom Valley (Tamar) 120 families (110 farmers) about 550 people.
The arable land comprised (2012/13 season) of 35,760 dunam (9,000 acres, 3,643 hectares), of which 82% vegetables, 16% fruit trees plantation (mainly dates) and 2% cut flowers. The pepper (Capsicum) is the major crop in the region and holds 50% of the total arable land and 66% of the vegetables area. The bio-organic farming holds about 10% of the growing area
The Arava region produces about 60% of the total Israeli export of fresh vegetables and about 10% of the cut flowers export.