Jewish National Fund-USA, the University of Arizona, and Israel’s premier agriculture region announce 10-million-dollar initiative to support agriculture in developing countries

September 12, 2019 – The University of Arizona (UA), Jewish National Fund-USA (JNF-USA), and Israel’s premier agriculture region (the Arava) signed a trilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish The JNF Joint Institute for Global Food, Water, and Energy Security.


The Joint Institute will introduce innovative technology and build capacity for food, water, and energy security in vulnerable communities in Africa and around the world.

“It’s exciting to combine expertise to work on challenging problems related to the food, energy, and water nexus – one of the grand challenges that is facing all of us,” said Kimberly Ogden, UA interim vice president for research. “Because of our location, Arizona is truly a living laboratory, and the hands-on training that we will be able to provide can be used for real-world solutions."

The Joint Institute will develop tools and design methods to adapt technologies and initiate programs to aid communities in arid and hyper-arid environments with an initial focus on supporting underserved African communities. Over the next three-to-five years, the Joint Institute will establish at least three multi-disciplinary programs in Africa to provide technology transfer, applied research, knowledge, training, on-going guidance, and education.

“This is an important agreement,” said JNF-USA President Sol Lizerbram. “Israel’s south and America’s southwest know the challenges of farming in arid regions all too well. Today, both Israel and America lead the world in the development of innovative farming methods for arid areas and this initiative will empower African farmers by democratizing access to agricultural training and knowledge sharing."

UA’s focal areas include research related to broad aspects of arid lands, including the natural environment and agriculture. Water sustainability is a critical natural resource concern in Arizona and the western United States. UA stands at the forefront of addressing that concern and is also a member of the International Arid Land’s Consortium (IALC), along with the JNF-USA and seven other institutions from around the world.

“This really is an unprecedented program for our region which promotes cooperation between students and farmers in developing countries together with JNF-USA, Israel’s Arava region and UA to identify the places in which we will work while finding solutions and equipping these farmers with useful solutions,” said JNF Joint Institute Project Co-Director, Udi Gat. “All of this will initially be achieved thanks to philanthropic support, however, the ultimate goal is for the Joint Institute to become financially sustainable in the future."

JNF-USA is the leading philanthropic organization for Israel that supports critical environmental and nation-building activities in Israel’s north and south. Through its One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade, JNF-USA is developing new communities in the Galilee and Negev, connecting the next generation to Israel, and creating infrastructure for ecology, special needs, and heritage preservation.




Stefan Oberman, JNF-USA Director of Communications. Phone: +1.212.879.9305 x222


Email: [email protected]