These establishments serve all farmers, in the knowledge that the individual farmer cannot undertake research or development, since his living depends on his day-to-day work in direct farming. The R&D establishments operate independently, within the framework of the Regional Councils or of companies associated with the Councils. Each has a public Board, a Professional Committee, a Scientific Director and an Executive Director.
Main characteristics of R&D activities conducted by KKL-JNF research stations:Development of intensive and innovative agriculture in hothouses, or in fields, where crops are adapted to the specific conditions of the region, to ensure continued settlement in the periphery.
- Most of the products of this development are intended for export or to replace imports, so as to provide a respectable living for the growers.
- Research programs are project oriented, planned for completion within 3 – 5 years.
- There is a direct link between the R&D establishment and the Agricultural Research Administration, the Faculty of Agriculture, the Technion, applied research institutes and government extension services for various topics.
- A national steering committee supervises the activities of the establishments.
- Research subjects and quality are monitored by teams from the Office of the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Agriculture and the national committees for each specific topic. A professional progress report on each project is submitted yearly.
- Successful research is first applied in model farms, and later in commercial farms.
A few examples that have already been put into practical application 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; development of aquaculture in brackish water in the Negev; establishment of new branches such as ornamental fish, ostrich breeding and many more areas of activities which derive from the local geographical conditions of each station.
KKL-JNF has defined the following objectives for research and development stations:
To increase the profitability and stability of agriculture by improving existing crops and introducing new ones.
- To identify crops available for immediate development, with a view to raising regional employment opportunities and expanding existing communities.
- To encourage development of new techniques, their implementation into existing products and to provide training during the implementation period.
KKL-JNF is involved in a number research and development projects focusing on a variety of themes:
Improving existing crops and introducing new ones.
- Developing new agricultural technologies and supervising their implementation.
- Use of biofilters in fishponds that allow the water to be recycled and reused.
- Reducing the use of pesticides to improve the environmental situation in the country and to enable Israel to fulfill its part in international agreements banning the use of certain pesticides.
- Using recycled wastewater in irrigation and developing methods for monitoring soil quality following extensive use of these irrigation methods.