Professors oil the wheels of industry for Beduin

With the olive-picking season now underway, Beersheba's Ben-Gurion University has embarked on a special project with local Beduin to upgrade the production, quality and marketing of local olive oil, reports A multi-disciplinary group of university researchers is working with Beduin from the nearby town of Rahat in testing technology designed to improve the olive-pressing process and to reduce the resulting pollution, and is even examining whether energy can be produced from the waste products. According to the report, the university team comprises scientists specializing in bio-technology, industrial engineering and environmental engineering. "Our aim is to make advances on technological problems that limit the development of the olive oil industry," one professor said. "The Negev is the area with the biggest growth potential for olives. Through preparation of the technological infrastructure it is possible to enable producers from the Beduin sector to participate and to enjoy the fruits of this industry, which is part of their heritage and close to their hearts."