Israel's Volcani Center for Agricultural Research, which belongs to the Agriculture Ministry, has recently been forced to change the moniker of a type of wheat named after Pope Benedict XVI because religious farmers refused to grow it.
The name was officially changed to Binyamin, after which the farmers, whose fields are located near Beit-She'an, agreed to purchase and plant the seeds.
Dr. Uri Kushnir, of the Department of Plant Sciences at the Volcani Center, developed the strain of wheat, which is a hybrid of two different Israeli-grown strains.
At the request of Shimon Peres, the Volcani Center was urged to speed up development in order to present it to the pope during his visit to Israel in 2009.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon was given an explanation of the wheat's complicated naming history while on a tour of the center.
Ayalon was also told by his host that the center has succeeded in selling three special strains of wheat to a major Italian pasta firm, which also plans on growing them locally.
The firm has already experimented in planting the Israeli strains, which will supplant local strains of the grain, Ayalon was told. He said he would try to use diplomatic connections to assist in marketing the center's developments.
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook