Thousands of tons of apples trapped in the Golan
In the months that have passed since the closing of the Quneitra Crossing which allows passage between Syria and Israel, the Syrian Druze have been left in a predicament. Since 2005, Syrian Druze living in the Golan Heights have been exporting thousands of tons of apples to Syria. With the closing of the border, however, they are left with a huge crop and no place to sell it. Both the Israeli and Druze crops are approximately 20-30 percent larger than last year. If the Israeli market suddenly becomes flooded with the Druze produce, the price of apples will drop significantly. This might be good for the consumer but will bankrupt those farmers trying to earn a living.
The Druze apples have already been picked and are sitting in refrigerated warehouses while their fate is being decided. The Israeli Ministry of Agriculture along with Druze farmers have entered negotiations with Jordan to explore the possibility of exporting to Jordan, but the Jordanian Ministry is requiring a very high import tax which would price the apples out of the hands of the average Jordanian. Furthermore, the tensions in Jerusalem have ended negotiations whatsoever at this time.
Itzik Cohen, the head of the Fruit Growers Association in Israel,talks about the current difficulty. “We have never exported apples to other countries, and we are looking for other possibilities. This problem will saturate the [Israeli] market.”
Israelis eat approximately 120 thousand tons of apples per year. This year’s crop produced approximately 140 thousand tons.
Source: Mekor Rishon 11 Nov 2014