Israel has long been known for their agricultural innovations. Now, a team of Israeli experts has found a way to increase crop yields and help provide low-cost fruit year-round.

Grapes are an important crop especially in the south. However, the grapes grow only during the warmer months.

Using a low-tech method – covering the vineyards with plastic sheeting – farmers from the south have found a way to ‘convince’ one variety of grapes to ripen during the winter months.

As a result, the popular Early Sweet variety can be sold nearly year-round, helping to keep produce costs low for Israeli families and help increase both profitability and yields for vineyard owners.

The year-round grapes is just one way Israelis are helping to grow more food and ultimately feed more people with less resources, an important way to help meet the growing demand for food worldwide.

In a separate research project announced by the Agricultural Ministry, researchers from the Jordan Valley Regional Council have also developed a way to keep date palm trees shorter and thus easier to pick.

Tamir Cohen, a farmer from a moshav in the Jordan Valley explained that when the trees get too tall they are no longer useful to the farmer.
“At some stage, the old trees get so tall that it doesn’t pay to harvest from them due to the high labor costs and expensive machinery involved. And then they have to be replaced and you lose about seven fruit years,” Cohen said.

Using the new substance, date palms will only grow to be the size of an average fruit tree, making them easier to harvest and reducing the amount of revenue lost from unproductive trees.

While the new methods will not doubt help Israeli farmers, they ultimately may help stave off a food shortage that is expected to hit as the world population reached 9 billion by 2050.

According to Luigi Guarino, from the Global Crop Diversity Trust “As the global population rises and the pressure increases on our global food system, so does our dependence on the global crops and production system that feeds us.”

Effort by the Israeli experts increase yields among date palms and an grapes, then, gains particular significance because as Guarino notes, in the near future, “The price of failure of any of these crops will become very high.”

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