Desertech-The Agricultural Expo for the Arava Agriculture

The Arava region at Israel's southern tip shows off
January 17, 2014
Desertech-The Agricultural Expo for the Arava Agriculture

Desertech, the agricultural expo for Arava agriculture, held this month at the Central and Northern Arava R&D Yair Station, in cooperation with the Interuniversity Institute in Eilat, is the 23rd annual exhibition that highlights agriculture under desert conditions.

The estimated 35,000 visitors saw the latest developments in mechanization, water and desalination, aquaculture, solar power, and gardening while a conference held there discussed a wide range of innovative methods.

The 600 farmers living in seven Arava communities engage in such farming pursuits as biological agriculture and fish farming. On about 10,000 acres of cultivated desert land they produce 150,000 tons of vegetables and fruits. Most of the produce is exported and accounts for about 60% of the total export volume of Israeli fresh vegetables. The surplus produce is sold in Israeli markets, but not in large quantities.

 The Israeli market for fruit and vegetables has hit the headlines lately because of the high cost of living in the country. The average Israeli spends 345 NIS a month on fresh produce and some even more than 500 NIS, according to a recent survey.
However the small local market is volatile and bad weather in mid-December led to very high prices with increases of up to 500%.
"By any standard, the saline soil, lack of water and blazing sun in the Arava are not the ideal conditions for farming. Yet, agriculture thrives where you'd least expect it," noted the exhibition's organizers.
The geographic isolation has created a zone with very few pests, while the Arava's hot, arid and saline conditions help create unique flavors and produce during the winter months.
This year the exhibition places the emphasis on quality and health with many new crops for the dinner table. For Agrexco organic produce has become a key area of business, growing rapidly in recent years with organic exports reaching a total of 70,000 tons a year.

For more photos from the event

 

Desertech-The Agricultural Expo for the Arava Agriculture

More Related Articles