Overview of science policy and strategy
The climate in Israel ranges from semi-arid to arid so that shortage of high quality water is one of the main constraints facing Israeli agriculture.
Extensive greenhouses production under the climatic conditions in Israel enables vegetables, fruits and flowers to be grown for export to the European markets during the winter off-season.
Israeli's agriculture is supported by both basic and applied research. Intensive production systems in Israel are the result of close cooperation and interaction between scientists, extension advisors, farmers and agriculture-related industries.
Agricultural research in Israel is carried out by the public and the private sectors.
In the public sector, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MOARD)
) supports research
in agriculture as does, albeit to a lesser extent, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MST)
(www.most.gov.il). Private sector research is carried out by manufacturers of agriculturally related products (e.g. fertilizers, seeds, irrigation equipment pesticides etc.) with the support of the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The vast majority of agricultural research in Israel is carried out by the Agricultural Research Organization (ARO)
) which is a government research institute attached to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Research in agriculture is also carried out by several universities (see below) and some regional research Institutions (MIGAL (www.migal.org.il), National Center for Mariculture (www.ocean.org.il
Of the universities in Israel conducting agricultural research, the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (www.huji.ac.il) is foremost. Several agricultural input producers carry out in-house research (mainly pesticides, fertilizers, and seed companies).
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
The main goals of the Chief Scientist of the MOARD is to identify knowledge gaps, to determine research goals, to fund research and to monitor research performance.
Financial support is given for research programs within ministry units as well as to universities and other research groups. The main units in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development are:
1. The Agricultural Research Organization (ARO)
) consists of 6 research institutes:
- Institute of Plant Science
- Institute of Animal Science
- Institute of Plant Protection
- Institute of Soil , Water and Environmental Science
- Institute of Agricultural Engineering.
- Institute of Technology and Storage of Agricultural Products.
The ARO is involved in solving current problems in agricultural production for the benefit of farmers and consumers with the introduction of new products, process and equipments, as well as carrying out basic and applied research projects for agriculture in the future.
2. The Agricultural Extension Service (SHAHAM) (www.shaham.moag.gov.il
3. The Plant Protection and Inspection Services (PPIS) (www.ppis.moag.gov.il/ppis
4. The Veterinary Services
including The Kimron Veterinary Institute (www.vetserv.moag.gov.il
Regional Research and Development (R & D)
- The Hebrew University of Jerusalem – The Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (www.huji.ac.il).
- Tel-Aviv University (www.tau.ac.il).
- The Weizmann Institute of Science (www.weizmann.ac.il).
- Technion – Israel Institute of Technology (www.technion.ac.il).
- Ben Gurion University of the Negev (www.bgu.ac.il).
- University of Haifa (www.haifa.ac.il).
- Bar-Ilan University (www.biu.ac.il).
Regional R & D units are located in several locations throughout Israel, mostly in remote peripheral regions of national importance and unique agro-climatic conditions.
Agricultural research is funded primarily by the public sector (85%) of which the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MOARD) provides the major share. Other sources of funding include bi-national and international funds. The farming sector funds research through the production and marketing boards.
The private sector funds the other 15% of agricultural research mainly in the framework of the agricultural input industry.