Finance Minister Yair Lapid officially declared the 2013-2014 winter season a drought year on Sunday, signing the recommendations of a joint committee on the subject administered by the Finance Ministry, the Tax Authority and the Agriculture Ministry. The declaration applies to all of the Negev, as well as some isolated areas in the country's North and South, according to the Tax Authority.
The decision was made after evaluating most impacted agricultural regions of the country, by measuring the quantity and quality of crops as well as estimated losses incurred by farmers, the Tax Authority said. Farmers particularly affected include those who grow wheat, barley, clover, peas, vetch (ful), chickpeas, safflower (canola) and oats.
The compensation given will be about NIS 10 million this year, while in some previous drought years the sum has reached up to NIS 100 million, the Tax Authority said. Farmers are receiving compensation for loss in production and not for loss in potential revenue, the authority added. Farmers who have not yet filed an application for compensation can do so within 30 days after harvest by using a form found on the Tax Authority's website.