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Nation’s food basket under fire
By SHARON UDASIN
19/11/2012
The hundreds of rockets from Gaza have damaged agricultural resources, and prevented some farmers from getting to work.
 
The hundreds of rockets that have hit the South have damaged many agricultural resources, and in other cases, farmers have been unable to get to work.

Not only have many farms been damaged, but others continue to be at risk from the ongoing attacks, according to the Institute for Resolving Conflict in Agriculture at the Israel Loss Adjusters Association.

Meanwhile, farmers are avoiding going to work in many locations and are losing many days of labor as well as their products in the process, the organization said. In many cases, owners of damaged private property are not entitled to government compensation.

The institute has therefore announced that it will provide free counseling to southern farmers in need of financial help.

“The Institute for Resolving Conflict in Agriculture sees fit to assist in all ways possible victims of the security situation in the South, to reduce the damage and to promote the issue of compensation,” said Doron Havkin, vice chairman of the Israel Loss Adjusters Association.

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The Agriculture Ministry said it aims to ensure that a steady supply of vegetables continues to come from the South, what it calls “the country’s vegetable storehouse.”

The Agriculture Ministry is working with the Defense Ministry and the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry to draft a list of farms where the IDF Home Front Command will allow workers to come and pick produce. All approvals, the Agriculture Ministry stressed, will be subject to the Home Front Command’s discretion.

“The Agriculture Ministry sees great importance in the continued existence of agricultural activity in the area surrounding Gaza, especially during these days, and this among other things is for the sake of enabling a supply of fresh produce to the country’s residents,” Agriculture Minister Orit Noked said. “Activities will continue to be carried out with precision while maintaining the safety and well-being of farmers in the region.”

Simultaneously, the Agriculture Ministry has joined together with the Home Front Command and the Defense Ministry for an immediate pooling of resources, to position 100 additional bomb shelters in agricultural areas near the Gaza Strip and thereby enable work with cattle, in greenhouses and at open agricultural sites.

In coordination with the various agricultural production councils, the Negev district office of the Agricultural Ministry is working to remove security barriers on an emergency basis, to allow for the continued activities of farmers in the area and to ensure national food security, the ministry said.
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