(photo credit: Matt Stroshane/Bloomberg)
The Israel Fruit Growers Association reported on Sunday a 25 percent increase in sales of fruit to the Gaza Strip in 2010.
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The sales to Gaza, which reached NIS 100 million, equal those to European countries such as the Netherlands, France and Spain.
According to the association’s chairman, Ilan Eshel, Israeli farmers transferred 50,000 tons of fruit into Gaza in 2010. The main produce sold to Gaza are bananas, apples, mangoes, dates and avocados.
Eshel said that the increased sales were the result of the relative calm that prevails in the region and the positive actions taken by Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, and his staff, who show great understanding of the needs of both sides.
“Trade relations between Israeli farmers and Gaza merchants are excellent,” said Eshel. “Some of the merchants enter Israel regularly to assess the produce and close deals, and we also hold meetings with them at the Erez crossing.”
Eshel said that an additional increase of 20% was anticipated for 2011, as long as there were no unpleasant surprises on the security front.
“Increasing trade is in the interest of both sides. For the Israeli growers, it is a dual benefit, both in the income from sales and the stability it lends the local price market,” he said.
In a recent meeting between Israeli farmers representatives and Dangot,
the parties discussed additional relaxations on the transfer of flowers
and vegetables from the Gaza Strip to Israel and abroad, as well as the
possibility of allowing 10,000 Palestinian workers from the West Bank
into Israel due to the shortage in labor in the agricultural sector.