Commercial Shani Variety Garlic (left) vs. Shani Variety Virus-Free Garlic (right).
The Southern Arava is a desert area, characterized by climatic extremes that include high radiation, low humidity, large differential temperature ranges between day and night, and a high evapo-transpiration rate. The water sources in the area are saline. Growing guidelines and methods must take all of these conditions into consideration, especially in regards to irrigation scheduling in order to allow the production of agricultural crops.
Nearly 6000 dunam (600 hectares) of vegetable crops are grown intensively in the Southern Arava yearly with a production level of about 40000 tons that are marketed locally and exported to Europe and Asia. Local conditions allow for a market advantage as they promote early and off-season maturity and harvesting. The main vegetable crops grown are fall muskmelons, onions, spring onions, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, sweet corn, watermelons, and virus-free garlic for seed.
Through cooperation with our local farmers, extension officers, and research institutes, we strive to provide solutions for the present and future needs of vegetable production in the Southern Arava.
The main goal of the research is to promote profitable vegetable production in the Southern Arava. We achieve this goal by:
- conducting trials to find new, improved varieties compatible to the conditions in the Southern Arava and to, thereby, increase profitability as a result of improved overall yields, , decreased production costs, increased export market production, and improved and higher quality produce.
- searching for solutions to agro-technical dilemmas (production methods, irrigation scheduling, disease and insect management, postharvest techniques).
- introducing new crops.