Agricultural produce grown in the surrounding desert on display at the 2018 Arava Open Day.
(photo credit: DENNIS ZINN KKL-JNF)
The 2018 Arava Open Day Agricultural Exhibition was held this year from January 31st to February 1st. On show were hundreds of booths displaying prime agricultural produce and cutting-edge farming equipment and tools. KKL-JNF, which is instrumental in advancing the Arava through agriculture and community development, also had a booth at the fair. The exhibition grounds were packed with visitors from Israel and around the world.
The exhibition was situated in an enormous pavilion adjacent to the hothouses of the Yair Experimental Station, which is the home of the Arava Research and Development Station, known in Hebrew as MOP Arava. Arava in Hebrew means "desolate and dry area". MOP Arava was launched in order to develop agricultural crops which could thrive in arid conditions. It is largely thanks to this venture, which is supported by KKL-JNF and its friends worldwide, that farming has become so successful in Israel’s desert.
Seven agricultural communities in the Arava produce over 150,000 tons of fresh produce annually. Much of this output, primarily peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, mangoes and flowers, is destined for export.
The R&D Station also experiments with developing new and exotic crops. Some of the novel produce available this year were new varieties of cherry tomatoes, a new type of spinach with a strong flavor and long shelf-life, a unique bitter melon, and a lemon without pips. The researchers at the Yair R&D station emphatically emphasize that their food is completely healthy for consumption, without a trace of genetic modification.
In his opening address at a food technology conference on “Innovation and Agriculture in the Arava” at the adjacent Vidor Center, Central Arava Regional Council Head Dr. Eyal Blum, said that thanks to KKL-JNF, the Arava region is thriving.
“Without KKL-JNF assistance there would be very little in the Arava. KKL-JNF helps us in almost every sphere of our existence here, starting from land preparation and water supply, to plant research and new community building. There are over 3,500 residents in this area today and that number is growing steadily.”
Read more, see video of the 2018 Arava Open Day