Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Center

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Agricultural Research Organization
Volcani Center
Founded Ben Shemen, Israel (1921 (1921))
Founder(s) Yitzhak Elazari Volcani
Headquarters Beit Dagan, Israel
Number of locations 3
Services Agricultural research
Divisions 6
Website agri.gov.il/en/home/default.aspx

The Agricultural Research Organization, Volcani Center (Hebrew: מנהל המחקר החקלאי - מרכז וולקני‎), previously known as the Agricultural Research Station of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, is an Israeli agricultural research center. It serves as the research arm of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of the State of Israel and provides research opportunities for local and international scientists at post-graduate levels, as well as educational opportunities for Israeli and international youths, farmers and scientists. The organization supports Israeli agriculture research, focusing on plant sciences, animal sciences, plant protection, soil and environmental sciences, food sciences, and agricultural engineering. The organization was founded in 1921 in Ben Shemen, Israel, by Yitzhak Elazari Volcani, for whom it is named.

History[edit]

During 1921, in the city of Ben Shemen, the Jewish Agency established the Agricultural Experiment Station under the leadership of Yitzhak Elazari Volcani.[1][2] It was the first scientific institute in the British Mandate of Palestine.[3] The station was established in response to a proposal by Chaim Weizmann and Arthur Ruppin, who recognized the need to advance agriculture in Israel.[4] In 1932, the station was moved to Rehovot. In 1951, its control was transferred to the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture (Israel having been created in 1948), and the station was renamed the Agricultural Research Station (ARS). When Volcani died in 1951, after a directorship of thirty years, the organization was renamed the Volcani Center in his honor. In the 1950s, the station was relocated to its present campus at Beit Dagan, and in 1971, the ARS became part of the Agricultural Research Organization (ARO) under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.[1][2]

Focus of research[edit]

Israel is a country with limited water resources. Its climate ranges from Mediterranean in the north to semi-arid and arid in the south. Due to these factors, research by the ARO has focused on:

  • Agriculture under arid conditions and on marginal soils
  • Irrigation using recycled wastewater and saline water
  • Crop cultivation in protected environments
  • Freshwater aquaculture under conditions of water shortage
  • Minimization of produce losses through pest control and post-harvest storage methods
  • Breeding and development of new strains of crops and domestic animals better suited to adverse conditions[3][5]

Organization[edit]

The Agricultural Research Organization (ARO) has six institutes at three regional campuses (Beit Dagan, Newe Ya'ar, and Gilat). The institutes include plant sciences, animal sciences, plant protection, soil, water, environmental sciences, post-harvest and food sciences, and agricultural engineering.[3][6] There is a seed laboratory for testing seed quality for local use and for export,[7] and a plant gene bank to collect, preserve, and evaluate plant species indigenous to Israel, including landraces and primitive cultivars.[8] Kidum, a unit of the ARO, manages the commercialization of the organization's intellectual property, technology transfer, and the establishment of partnerships, joint ventures, and business enterprises.[9]

Collaboration[edit]

The Volcani Center collaborates with other government-sponsored researchers, related industry bodies, educational institutions, farmers, and international organizations and scientists.[10][11][12] The ARO's funding is from the Israeli government, farmers' organizations, and the private sector, as well as the US and the European Union.[5][6][12] Investment is encouraged through the application of intellectual property rights. Private sector investment stems from companies in related industries, such as manufacturers of pesticides, fertilizers, seeds, plastics, irrigation equipment, and greenhouses.[13][14][15][16]

Education[edit]

The Volcani center trains students in basic and applied agricultural research methodology and practice. Masters, doctoral, and post-doctoral students may complete their studies through the ARO's collaboration with universities, including The Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Bar-Ilan University; Ben Gurion University of the Negev; Technion – Israel Institute of Technology; Tel Aviv University; University of Haifa; and Ariel University.[17][18] The ARO hosts visiting scientists and post-doctoral fellows from Israel and abroad. The organization has a post-doctoral fellowship program for up to 40 candidates from India and China.[19]

In collaboration with Israel's Agency for International Development and Cooperation, research staff are involved in providing courses to scholars from developing countries, under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[20][21] The Volcani Center also hosts courses for farmers from Gaza and the West Bank.[22]

In 1973, a science-oriented youth unit was founded in cooperation with the Israel Ministry of Education. Junior and high school students may participate in activities including day-long study and enrichment sessions; special research projects and high school assignments in biology, agriculture, and the environmental sciences; science-oriented summer camps; and projects for the benefit of disadvantaged communities.[23]

In 2006, the unit initiated a therapeutic agricultural project for the education and rehabilitation of youth at risk, The Organic Gardening and Marketing Program. The treatment program offers boys and girls an opportunity to study and work in organic gardening and marketing.[23][24]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Katz, Shaul and Ben-David, Joseph "Scientific research and agricultural innovation in Israel." Minerva 1 June 1975 13(2) p. 152 - 182. doi:10.1007/BF01097793 Accessed 27 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b Horowitz, Menashe "History of agricultural research in Israel." Agri.gov.il Accessed 26 March 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Loebenstein, Gad; Putievsky, Eliyahu and Thotapilly G. (ed.) "Agricultural research management. Chapter 18, Agricultural research in Israel." Springer 2007 p. 357 - 365. ISBN 978-1-4020-6056-4
  4. ^ "ARO Heritage." Agri.gov.il Accessed 3 April 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Coordination of agricultural research in the Mediterranean area - ARIMNET - Israel." Arimnet.net Accessed 1 April 2014.
  6. ^ a b "European Commission Standing Committee on Agricultural Research - SCAR - National research systems, Israel." European Commission. Accessed 1 April 2014.
  7. ^ "The Official seed testing laboratory." Agri.gov.il Accessed 1 April 2014.
  8. ^ "The Israel plant gene bank." igb.agri.gov.il Accessed 1 April 2014
  9. ^ "Kidum – R&D applications and technology transfer." Agri.gov.il Accessed 1 April 2014.
  10. ^ "Israel-India cooperation in agriculture." embassies.gov.il Accessed 1 April 2014.
  11. ^ "Korea, Israel cooperation on agriculture technology." korea.net Accessed 1 April 2014
  12. ^ a b "New USDA Israel research agreement to focus on food security sustainability." foodnavigator-usa.com 1 April 2014.
  13. ^ "2-D climate control specially designed for growing the Middle East heat." hortidaily.com Accessed 1 April 2014.
  14. ^ "Agricultural Research Organization." moag.gov.il Accessed 1 April 2014.
  15. ^ "Top 9 Israeli fruits and vegetables color world markets." jewfacts.com Accessed 1 April 2014.
  16. ^ "Icaros and Volcani Institute develop agricultural techniques for Israel." icaros.us Accessed 1 April 2014.
  17. ^ "Ariel home webpage" Ariel.ac.il 29 April 2013. Accessed26 March 2014.
  18. ^ "Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, HUJI." Agri.huji.ac.il 31 May 2012. Accessed 26 March 2014.
  19. ^ "Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for Ph.D. graduates from institutes in India and China." Agri.gov.il Accessed 31 March 2014.
  20. ^ "International R & D courses - ARO." Agri.gov.il Accessed 26 March 2014.
  21. ^ "Cinadco." Mfa.gov.il Accessed 26 March 2014.
  22. ^ "Gazan,West Bank farmers learn post-harvest storage techniques in Beit Dagan" Jpost.com Accessed 16 May 2014.
  23. ^ a b Meyers, Nechemia "Using cucumbers to curb crime." Jewish Tribune 12 July 2006 Accessed 31 March 2014.
  24. ^ "Ministry of Agriculture rehabilitates troubled youth." moag.gov.il (translated from Hebrew). Accessed 31 March 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°59′25″N 34°49′2.84″E / 31.99028°N 34.8174556°E / 31.99028; 34.8174556