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Little to no harvesting of deciduous fruit on farms around Israel’s Northern Border

The ongoing war in Israel is taking its toll on growers of deciduous fruit, along the Northern and Southern borders, who are unable to access large portions of their farms. The Fruit Growers Organization in Israel signalled that more help is needed because their members face big losses as a result of the ongoing conflict.

Yaron Balhassan, Yanu Dimari and Moti Zamir with cherries picked in Israel. Photo: Israel Organization of Fruit Growers.

Shimon Dekel, a representative of the Fruit Growers Organisation in Israel says, "Growers have limited access to their fields close to the border that has become a war zone, they are unable to cultivate their fields. They can't even harvest the fruit in most cases. The affected areas are in the Northern part of Israel about 15 km from the border, while the same is happening on farms close to the border with Gaza."

Yaron Belachan, CEO of the Fruit Growers Organization in Israel, said at a recent industry forum meeting: "There is still fighting in the northern border. The fruit growers at the beginning of the harvest season, especially in the Upper Galilee and the Western Galilee, are not allowed to reach all plantations near the border with Lebanon that have been declared a closed military area, due to threats of anti-aircraft and Hezbollah missiles. This is in addition to the last months in which farmers failed to maintain the functional continuum and did not treat all plantations. These are huge losses, and in the coming months as the harvesting work progresses we can estimate the economic damage. After all, we are full of optimism and hope that we will succeed as much as possible, reach the nearby plantations, harvest and supply the high quality Israeli fruit to the citizens of the State of Israel."

He made a call to their government: "The Israeli government must also provide compensation to industry, to those in agriculture and to all farmers who serve as civilian soldiers who have not left their land - they must make it a priority, on the way to restoring the state and securing food for Israeli residents through a national plan."

Belachan added that the cherry-picking in Israel is now at its peak, with the early varieties of nectarines to be harvested. Growers will gradually begin the harvesting of peaches, pears, apples, kiwis, mangos and other fruit. This summer, harvesting of all deciduous fruit crops in Israel will continue until October-November.

Dekel says growers are getting government help, but more needs to be done. "The Government does support growers a little bit, it is attempting to support them with financial help. They are also trying to get people to work there, but it proves to be very difficult. People can't even get near their orchards and harvest their fruit."

For more information:
Shimon Dekel
Fruit Growers Organization in Israel
Tel: +972 03-6966267
[email protected]