Promoting Arid Land Agribusiness
One of The Negev Foundation's guiding principles is to encourage Negev economic self-sufficiency by replacing non-profit funding with income derived through business ventures. In one of its most important accomplishments, The Negev Foundation, through its for-profit affiliate, Desert Sweet Technologies, Inc., successfully solicited the interest of several major U.S. vegetable and fruit growers and linked U.S. agribusiness with Negev research facilities.
One such achievement is the dialogue that The Negev Foundation
initiated between several major agribusiness entities, including Agro Power Development Inc., the largest grower of hothouse tomatoes in the U.S., and Chiquita Brands International. A group of business leaders representing these companies visited the Ramat Negev facilities. The Negev Foundation organized this mission and funded on-site seminars and visits to Negev commercial sites.
In addition to supporting large-scale agribusiness, The Negev
Foundation supports smaller-scale entrepreneurial activities on an
ongoing basis. Over the past 20 years, the foundation has acted as a
resource for countless agricultural entrepreneurs who choose to
establish their businesses in the Negev. If you are interested in
learning more about the types of support we provide, please contact a
member of our staff.
One of the first major projects that was supported by The Negev
Foundation was research on growing orchard crops that could be
nourished with brackish (salty) water. This
research was conducted at the Ramat Negev Desert AgroResearch and
Business Center (RNDARC), and the results were disseminated to
agricultural professionals and entrepreneurs throughout the region.
Experimentation found that many orchard crops could thrive
when irrigated with brackish water, and that among the most
promising of these were olives. Out of this
discovery, the Halutza olive oil company was born, and today is the
largest olive oil company in southern Israel.