In 1996, KKL-JNF took upon itself the overall responsibility for operating regional agricultural research and development stations and providing significant budgetary support for their ongoing operation.
With the help of its friends throughout the world, KKL-JNF funds 50% of the budget of Israel's R&D stations.
The R&D stations were established in order to promote agricultural development and create means of production, which are essential to the existence of communities that are distant from Israel’s central region. These stations develop new crops and improve existing farming techniques, along with helping farmers to compete in the world market and improving their profitability.
The R&D stations take advantage of the natural conditions of their geographical regions, including climate, soil, varieties of water sources and manpower.
Field advisors and noted researchers work in these stations in cooperation with academic institutions.
General fields that R&D stations focus on include:
Bio-organic agriculture and pesticide-free farming
The use of brackish water for irrigation
Intensive greenhouse farming to produce better crops with fewer pesticides.
Development of agro-tourism
Economic research relating to development and marketing
A few examples of applied research are the use of hothouses for the intensive cultivation of bell peppers in winter; increasing the yield of strawberries by advanced production techniques; development of tomato varieties with varied shapes, colors and tastes; netting against insects and other pests; irrigation and pest control; and creating new agricultural branches such as ornamental fish and ostrich breeding.
Open Days at the Negev and Arava R&Ds
Every year, tens of thousands of people from all over Israel and around the world visit the Arava and Western Negev R&D stations for a colorful agricultural exhibition, including a pavilion that highlights KKL-JNF’s diverse projects for developing agriculture and sustainable water resources. Visitors also include farmers from neighboring countries.
In the words of a member of a delegation of farmers from Gaza: “It was important for us to find out what is new in this field. Agriculture provides food for people, on the most basic level, and perhaps joint ventures in agriculture could pave the way toward a better future for both peoples.”