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Arizona’s Yuma, Negev coucil to join forces to boost economies

Memorandum of understanding pledges collaboration in areas like desert agriculture, agtech, desert tourism, rural internet, water

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Mayor of Yuma Douglas Nicholls, second to the left, in Arizona and Ramat Hanegev Regional Council sign accord to share expertise in a variety of strategic sectors; Sept. 16, 2020 (Courtesy Yuma)
Mayor of Yuma Douglas Nicholls, second to the left, in Arizona and Ramat Hanegev Regional Council sign accord to share expertise in a variety of strategic sectors; Sept. 16, 2020 (Courtesy Yuma)

The City of Yuma in Arizona and Ramat Hanegev Regional Council on Wednesday signed an accord to share expertise in a variety of strategic sectors.

The purpose of the memorandum of understanding signed by the two regions via Zoom is to collaborate on areas of mutual interest such as desert agriculture, high-tech agriculture technologies, desert tourism, broadband, rural internet connectivity, water usage and conservation, aerospace industries, educational innovation, border issues and related opportunities for economic development.

“We look forward to increased collaboration in our shared areas of strength, like agriculture, research, technology and more,” said Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls.

Mayor Eran Doron of Ramat Hanegev said: “The resemblance between the two regions, the vast knowledge accumulated over the years in the fields of desert agriculture, desert tourism, water use, and life alongside a border with a neighboring country” is what led Ramat Hanegev Regional Council and Yuma to join hands in their areas of expertise for a better future for both regions.”

The MOU signing comes months after Nicholls traveled to Israel with the Arizona Commerce Authority’s Arizona-Israel Trade Office, where he represented Yuma at a variety of technology and business events relevant to Yuma’s top industries. Director general of the Arizona Israel Trade and Investment Office David Yaari organized the trip, which set the groundwork for developing partnerships and commercial activity.

The US state of Arizona, with its arid climate and a population and economy similar to those of Israel, can be a “launchpad” for Israeli companies that want to penetrate the United States and Mexico, Yaari said last year.

Yuma, Ramat Hanegev, and the Israel based satellite company NSLComm also said that they would set up a working group to look into the possibility of setting up a binational research project that would include a team of researchers at the University of Arizona, the USDA Arid Land Agricultural Research Center, and The Ramat Hanegev Desert AgroResearch Center. NSLComm is a company that provides internet of things (IoT) data communications from remote locations such as agriculture fields through nano-satellites.

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