The Agriculture Ministry in the Hamas government announced over the weekend a prohibition on the import of fruits from Israel to the Gaza Strip, except for bananas and apples. Tahsin al-Saqa, manager of marketing in the Agriculture Ministry in Gaza, explained that the prohibition comes from the desire to protect local production.
Saqa explained that the Strip has achieved self-sufficiency in various sectors, including grapes, citrus fruits, guavas, and more, and that preference is thus given to local farmers.
He also said that the fruit harvest reaches up to 70,000 tons per year, of which 25,000 tons are comprised of citrus fruits and 10,000 of grapes. According to al-Saqa, the quantity of local production that is smuggled through the tunnels [between Gaza and Egypt] is very small, especially in light of the prohibition by the governing authorities against smuggling fruit.
Al-Saqa also said that a similar prohibition on the import of vegetables was imposed a few years ago because the Strip reached a rate of 98 percent self-sufficiency for vegetables. The vegetable harvest in Gaza reaches some 300,000 tons per year.
According to the Palestinians, Israel prevented throughout the years an export of fruits and vegetables from Gaza to the West Bank. Last year, it permitted the export of strawberries and flowers from Gaza to Europe following pressure by the European Union, officials in Gaza claim.
Doron Peskin is the head of research at Info-Prod Research (Middle East) Ltd.
Continue reading this article by registering at no cost and get unlimited access to:
- The award-winning Middle East Lobbying - The Influence Game
- Archived articles
- Exclusive events
- The Week in Review
- Lobbying newsletter delivered weekly