Italian Environment Minister Discovers Negev Agriculture .
(photo credit: KKL-JNF)
Italian Minister of Environment Dr. Gian Luca Galletti visits the Ramat Negev Research and Development Station, located in the Negev desert south of Beersheba, with KKL-JNF.
The Italian Minister of Environment Dr. Gian Luca Galletti arrived at the Ramat Negev Research and Development Station
, located in the desert south of Beer Sheva, on Monday February 22 during an unusually heavy downpour. Galletti was accompanied by a small delegation from his ministry in Rome, and Italian Ambassador to Israel
Francesco Maria Talo.
The Manger of the Ramat Negev R&D Station Tzion Shemer said that the purpose of the center is to develop agricultural products that thrive in dry climates and to share know-how with farmers who work in desert conditions. “We also provide guides to help youngsters with absolutely no farming experience to become successful farmers, because we are interested in settling the land, and developing the land. The success of the facility is the result of tight cooperation between the local regional council and KKL-JNF.”
KKL-JNF Director of the Southern Region Ami Uliel told the guests that it is particularly fitting during this visit to pay tribute to the person who established the first agricultural research and development center in the Negev, Yoel DeMalach, an Italian Jew who was born in Florence and immigrated to Israel in 1943.
Uliel invited the minister to taste the fresh tomatoes that were on display, and to take note of the impressive olive grove adjacent to the R&D station, which is irrigated only with brackish water.V
The members of the Italian delegation were thrilled to visit a hothouse where they saw strawberries hanging in the air, growing as if they were grapes on vines. R&D station Manager Tzion Shemer explained that “this innovation has many benefits, in that it isolates the fruit from insects and diseases that are on the ground, and thus dispenses of the need for pesticides. It is also much more comfortable for the farmer to work and harvest at shoulder height than on his knees.”
The Italian Minister of Environment said that he was most impressed with what he saw. “The aim of making land arable is important both morally and economically. I see that the right technology can help agriculture develop without harming the ecosystem. Italy has very advanced agriculture but at the same time we are interested in technology and expertise that saves water, saves energy and lowers the cost of production. I have no doubt that the sharing of technology between our two countries would be mutually advantageous”.
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