11 Dec

BGU, Beduin make modern olive press

By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich,

Ben-Gurion University researchers have launched a unique collaboration with Beduin entrepreneurs to develop a modern olive press in the Negev- just in time for the olive harvest.

For the past two years, the Beersheba researchers have had professional ties with Negev Beduin in the production of olive oil. The multi-disciplinary BGU team focused on the characterization, branding and improvement of the olive oil produced in the Negev. They worked with Ahmed Zabraga, an entrepreneur in Rahat.

These efforts have begun to bear fruit, and the first modern olive press was established recently in Rahat by Zabraga and his family. BGU researchers provided technological solutions concerning the pressing of olives and the treatment of the waste, which is environmentally damaging. The researchers are also examining the possibility of producing energy from the waste.

This project is part of the effort being made to upgrade Israel’s olive oil industry, specifically in the Negev. The BGU multi-disciplinary research team includes people from the plant oil biotechnology lab headed by Prof. Ze’ev Wiesman, and other BGU labs headed by Prof. Yael Edan from the industrial engineering and management department, Prof. Asher Brenner from the environmental engineering unit and Dr. Jack Gilron from the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at Sde Boker.

“The Negev has the potential to be a major area for the cultivation of olives,” said Wiesman. “Preparation of the technological infrastructure will enable producers from the Beduin sector to enjoy the rewards of an industry that is close to their heritage and hearts.”

The project integrates well with the new initiative of the Abu Basma Regional Council to promote an effective solution for some of the problems faced by the population in the council settlements.

“The university calls for more educated young Beduin to join the project. We hope to channel their abilities and talents to provide better opportunities for the younger generation in these communities,” concluded Wiesman.

[Source] Click here

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