Climate Opportunities & Partnerships

Middle East & Africa


How to Make Climate Change Resistant Fruits

Israeli family farm develop hybrid fruits both tasty and resistant to extreme weather conditions

Jan 07, 2023 / 3 Min
Photo: László from Pixabay

Ben Dor Nurseries, a family farm that has been operating in Israel since 1880, is developing new fruit varieties with both special emphasis on flavor and resilience to climate change effects. 


Like many farmers, they crossbreed their fruits to develop cultivars with more desirable properties, like better taste, better yields, and a higher sugar content, but the best part is that many of these hybrid fruits are resistant to intensifying weather conditions.


The Eden pear, for example, is resistant to sunburns, heat stress, and Fire Blight, a contagious disease that causes annual economic losses of over $100 million in the US alone.


“We’ve been farming here for roughly 140 years,” says Ido Ben Dor, the company’s CEO. “We started with flavor, which is our advantage compared with other breeding programs. Flavor is what brings the buyer back to the supermarket to look for that specific product again.”


Global warming caused some $100 million of damages to Israeli agriculture in the last year alone, with the hardest-hit sector being fruit, especially summer fruit like peaches, nectarines and plums.


“We breed in different harsh environments, like in Dubai and in northern Europe, to get these results, and have bred these qualities in different species.


“To create resilience or tolerance to certain disease, stress, or climate conditions, you first need to choose the right parents. The initial process is pretty simple. Pollen is collected from the anthers – the male part of the flower that contains pollen sacs – of one type of fruit’s flower, and is then rubbed on the stigma – the female flower that contains the ovary – of the base fruit, which is the fruit that will be altered. It takes an entire year to yield seeds, and several more to see results.


It cultivates its fruit in every continent, and in 34 countries – including the USA, Chile, South Africa, and Spain – under licensing and joint ventures with other nurseries, growers, and cooperatives.


It is currently developing new crossbreeds of fruit, which it seeks to cultivate in other countries, to be adaptable to various climates, resilient to frost, diseases, pests, and heat stresses.


Sources: NoCamels, Ben Dor Nurseries.