The Israeli company Arieli Capital and a regional council from the Negev desert in Israel are in talks with officials from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to promote agriculture projects in the desert.
The talks began before Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced a normalization agreement between the two countries on August 16, the parties said in a statement on Tuesday. In fact, they have already held several meetings to discuss the issue in Europe with Eran Doron, the director of the Ramat Negev Regional Council, and with representatives of the Center for Experimental Desert Agriculture in Ramat Negev.
As part of the negotiations, UAE officials are considering sending teams to the Ramat Negev region to receive training in innovative agriculture in the desert to help grow strawberries, blueberries, and tomatoes, stated Or Haviv, a partner of Arieli Capital.
Ramat Negev is one of Israel's largest and most successful agricultural regions. Over the past 50 years, the Desert Experimental Agriculture Center has developed agricultural knowledge of the region via research and pilot tests carried out at a local experiment station.
They have conducted research projects on the efficient use of water and irrigation; soil diseases and pests; development of new products and acclimatization of existing products; and development of agricultural techniques to improve the profitability of crops, among others.
The region mainly grows vegetables and their annual production is valued at about 177 million dollars. Nearly 70% of the total production is destined for export, mainly to Europe and the United States. There is also a brackish water desalination plant in the region that produces 3.5 million m³ of high-quality water for the local communities and the agricultural sector.