Gilat Center for Arid and Semi-Arid Agricultural Research-GCASAR
Solutions for sustainable agriculture in arid and semi-arid areas
1. The development of knowledge, technology and products to increase the yield and quality of agricultural produce while protecting the environment.
2. Collaboration in agriculture research in semi-arid and arid environments.
3. Developing solutions for immediate and future crises such as climate change, water quality and availability, desertification and soil degradation.
4. Initiate and develop international cooperation in agricultural research in semi-arid and arid environments.
5. Train the next generation for agricultural research in the arid and semi-arid regions by collaboration with student projects at secondary- and higher education institutes in the Negev.
The idea for the International Center for Arid and Semi-Arid Agricultural Research in Gilat has been discussed in recent years in the ARO Research Administration in sight of the need and importance to promote agriculture in Israel in general, and in growing areas with similar conditions (on the fringes of the desert region), in particular. Global changes in climate, water, food and energy prices reinforce the need for targeted development and promotion of applied research in these fields. The basis for establishing the Center is a long-term vision; to improve agriculture in Israel and related industries worldwide. Since Gilat is in the heart of the northern Negev desert and the researchers at the Center and elsewhere within the ARO are already professionally engaged in research relevant to semi-arid areas, it is logical that GCASAR be established at Gilat.
Over the last decade research has been focused at the Gilat Center on problems arising from increased intensive agriculture in arid and semi-arid regions. Much of this activity was made possible in the past due to support by the ICA Foundation through funding research and physical infrastructure at the Center. With ICA's support and participation, research activities to improve arid and semi-arid agriculture based at the Gilat Center will assume a national stature and will have ripple effects internationally.
A number of partners have joined this venture to establish the Gilat Center for Arid and Semi-Arid Agricultural Research on the fringes of the desert: Agricultural Research Organization; Ministry of Agriculture Executive, Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Agriculture, ICA Fund, Jewish National Fund, R&D regional stations, Ben Gurion University (Sede Boqer campus), Bnei Shimon Regional Council and the Ministry of Education.
ICA Fund investments will be reflected in the expansion of the existing ICA laboratory building and its infrastructure. At the same time, the Ministry of Agriculture has committed to increasing the number of Gilat researchers by 40% within a three-year period
The research units and their main investigation areas are:
- Plant Sciences
- crop cultivation: dryland farming, field crops, olive, citrus;
- grazing and open spaces;
- precision agriculture.
- Stress physiology and biochemistry
- Soil and Water
- irrigation and fertilization.
- Plant Protection
- plant pathology;
Gilat is situated in Israel's northern Negev (31°20' N, 34°40' E, elevation 150 m above mean sea level) near Ofakim. This district includes four municipalities -- Bene Shimon, Sha'ar HaNegev, Merchavim, and Azata -- with 60 agricultural settlements that cultivate 800,000 dunam (80,000 ha).
Agricultural facilities and services run by our research staff include a laboratory for the diagnosis of plant disease, nitrogen forecasting, a field services laboratory, and a national bank of genetic material for citrus orchards.
The Migda farm is an extension of the Gilat Regional Center, dedicated to research into agro-sylvo-pastoral systems in arid zones. Gilat and Migda operate an active system of research, experiment and model sites.
The Molcho Center, which operates within the Gilat Regional Center, initiates and supports Negev research activities by granting scholarships to students of agricultural science and by helping to maintain a research library.
On this website, in addition to information about the Center's activities you will find in-depth articles with illustrations and references:
- Online status reports in entomology
- Potato disease compendium