Prof. Raanan Katzir
Prof. Raanan Katzir
SACOG, Sustainable Agriculture Consulting Group, Israel
Title: Advance Agriculture in the Desert –the Israeli Case Story
The Israeli desert constitutes 60% of the country total area. The regional annual precipitation is 100-200 mm and evaporation reaches 2500 mm. Traditional desert agriculture of rain fed wheat and sheep, goat and camels grazing is common. Despite the harsh climate conditions, advance agriculture is concentrated in foci where water resources exist. It is taking advantage of the winter (October-April), mild climate season for growing vegetables, flowers, herbs and fruit, which are mostly for export to European countries. The key factor is the sustainable management of the local natural resources. Regional research and development (R&D) system, is generating adequate local knowledge and technologies. The most important key factor is developing water resources, and using irrigation saving water system as drip irrigation. Technologies of protected agriculture as greenhouses and plastic tunnels are used. The unfit desert soil is substitute by sand and artificial growing media. For gaining market purposes, introduction of botanical species was done as various flowers and vegetable varieties, avocado, pitaya, jojoba and others. Controlled drip irrigation and drainage helps to solve salinity problems. Integrated Pest Management (IPM), is used to overcome plant protection issues. Advance raising of milking cows was developed by using reduction heat stress methods. Raising fish in protected ponds and ostriches were adapted to desert conditions. On the southern Judean hills where precipitation is 250 mm, through soil conservation works and rain harvesting, significantly afforestation is changing the desert scenery. The human factor on this process as the farmers, agricultural extension agents and research scientists, are the leading factors.

Agronomist, M. Sc. Agr., graduate from The Faculty of Agriculture, Hebrew University Jerusalem. Honorary Professor of Fujian Vocational College of Agriculture. Forty years of working experience with the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture in the fields of agricultural extension, plant protection, national coordinator of agricultural research and extension, head of national plant quarantine office and director of international projects in developing countries within the framework of the Israeli Agency for International Cooperation (CINADCO, MASHAV). 

Conducting post studies in France, South Africa and the US. Participated on tenths of international conferences. Published tenths of articles concerning my professional work. I have fully workable management of English, Spanish, French and Hebrew as mother language. My Professional activities cover the following: 

• Agro Ecology/ Sustainable Agriculture/ Organic Agriculture. 

• Ecological Impact assessment. • Regional water resources and irrigation methods. 

• Advance modernize agriculture in arid zones 

• Restoration and conservation of dry land. 

• Regional Agriculture Research and Development, R&D Projects. 

• Programing regional agriculture extension activities. 

• Agro and Eco Tourism. 

• Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture 

I am often participate on international conferences and conducted tenths of lecturing and consulting missions in the developing countries as South America, Africa, Central Europe, China, India and Oceania. 

In the last thirty years specialized on Sustainable Agriculture, focusing on sustainable management of natural resources as soil, water, crops, animal husbandry, climate and human resource for the aim of agricultural production and food security. The basic approach is a holistic integrated management to conserve the natural resources for their future ability to generate food and avoid agro ecological disturbances. My activity covers open field and protected agriculture (greenhouses), urban and peri urban agriculture, agriculture extension, Agriculture Research and Development (R&D), agro environment issues, Rural Tourism. 

I am a member of the Israeli Association of Engineers, the Israeli Societies of Entomology and Phytopathology and International Society of Development (SID). General Secretary of a NGO called OISCA-Israel connected to a mother NGO in Japan, dealing with environmental education, reforestation and international developing activities. Since retirement, 2001, director of Sustainable Agriculture Consulting Group (SACOG), engaged in lecturing, consulting and participation on conferences in Israel and other industrial and developing countries. SACOG cooperated with the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, the P.R. of China (SAFEA), to recruit volunteer experts, mostly in the field of Agriculture. In the year 2012-2016, about 121 Israeli experts in behalf of SACOG conducted short professional missions in China.