Plantations in the Central and Northern Arava include mainly dates, vineyard grapes and mango. In addition, there are a few plantations of papaya, guava, argania (Argania spinosa) and moringa. The main species in the commercial cultivation is the date palm growing in common plots, alongside private plots planted by farmers.
R&D studies focus on optimizing the use of water in various qualities, improving agro-technics, plant protection practices and introduction of new crops.
Studies are conducted at three locations: Zohar station, Yair station and Moshav Paran with vineyard grapes and deciduous orchard, peaches, nectarines and apricots.
Research is conducted on the following topics:
Examining the effect of reduced amount of water on Medjool dates cultivar throughout the year and prior to harvest.
Yield load control by fruit dilution.
Plant Protection: control of greater date moth and neck rot disease of date palm.
Improving agro-technics and varieties at Yair Experimental Station.
Introduction of new crops and varieties
Various crops like mango, apricot, pitaya, peaches, nectarines and apricots, are being examined as part of the search for alternative crops for the Arava region. The new alternatives are subject to the constraints of economic viability, reducing expenses and inputs, mainly labor.
Experimental plantations of desalinated water, Sodom Valley
Mango and vine are tested at the Zohar Experimental Station, using desalinated water. Early varieties are being studied for their adaptability to the local conditions.