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Assistance for every Jordan Valley grower

With agriculture as the main income of the Jordan Valley residents, the test center of this area is working hard to find new and improved ways of growing. Their focus is on cultivating dates. They do test to find the perfect way to irrigate and the perfect mix of fertilizers. Ziva Gilad took us on a tour through the experimental centre. Of the R&D authority of the Jordan valley. this is a regional R&D station which is financed by growers, local municipality, and some governmental budgets.

Driving in the Jordan Valley, you'll see many Medjoul date trees
Although the research facility is located in the Jordan Valley, the test results are for every grower in the region. “We cooperate with all growers, because it's important for us they will prosper and for the sake of good neighbourhood there is yet another factor. Whatever they do can and will affect other growers as well. For example, if they spray with an unsuitable or banned material, the pesticides could affect other growers' and wise reverser,” explains Gilad. All workers in greenhouses and packing houses, mainly from nearby villages some 6,000 workers , earning the minimum Israeli wages.

The Westbank is the most successful part of Jordan in terms of growing crops. “The rest of the area is very hilly. That’s why we all work together to get the most out of this area.

Different seeds are tested to check if they perform well in the Jordan area
Next to dates, we grow a lot of other produce, like bell peppers, beans, table grapes, lemon, citrus and mango. We try different varieties to look which variety thrives best in the Jordan Valley conditions.

Ziva Gilad explains the procedure of growing in this area
"We use seeds from various seed companies. The seeds have different prices and one seed thrives better in this area than the other. We help the grower to make a decision. Sometimes they choose the variety over the price and sometimes they compromise.”

The soil exists out of a layer of compost covered with plastic
The test centre uses high tunnels to protect their crops. Their produce are grown in the ground, yet not in the local soil. “We use compost instead of the local soil, because we can‘t grow anything in this soil. It’s to salty and it contains a lot of stones, so we have thought of a system to grow the crops here anyway. There’s a canal in the ground with a layer of compost and some plastic on top in which the roots can find their way to grow.”

They use different ways to hold the plant to check the best way for harvesting
To make it easier for the workers to pick the produce the research centre has different crop support systems in its high tunnels to find out the best way hold the plants up. “For example, it’s a lot of work to pick beans. Because workers are very expensive, we try to find an easier and faster way to pick the produce.”

Also to fight diseases and try different methods in different greenhouses, the R&D centre does a lot of tests to check what works best for growers in the Jordan Valley.

R&D authority of the Jordan Valley are not for commercial purposes the product are grown for research purposed only .
For more information:
Ziva Gilad
Jordan Valley R&D