The International Program for Arid Land Crops
Arava R&D Stations
The Arava Valley, along the eastern portion of the Negev Desert, has three agricultural research stations; Zoar, Yatir and Arava. These regional government labs, partly funded by the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture, The Jewish Agency, and Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel, develop technologies geared to each area’s unique climatic conditions and resources. In 2007, the Arava Valley research stations formed a collaborative scientific union with other regional research stations to more effectively address the area’s unique agriculture challenges. The Arava Valley also hosts annual events to promote agrotechnology collaboration, which attracts farmers across the State of Israel.
Arava Valley research has focused on new varieties of peppers, strawberries, dates, flowers, aquaculture, livestock, fodder crops, flower-seed growing and harvesting, and developing jojoba beans, used in cosmetics and lubricants, a year-round cash crop for the region. Results from this research have been encouraging. Over 90% of Israel’s melon exports come from the Arava Valley. The region also produces more than 40% of Israel’s vegetable and field crops.