Kibbutz leaders object VAT on fresh produce

Agriculture professionals, kibbutz leaders say plan to impose VAT on fruits, vegetables "hit farmers very hard."

produce vegetables cucumbers and tomatoes 390 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
produce vegetables cucumbers and tomatoes 390
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
As budget talks continue, agriculture professionals – along with the kibbutz and moshav movements – expressed their discontent with the Treasury’s proposal to impose the value-added tax on fruits and vegetables.
Protesters in the battle against the new initiative – who also include doctors, nutritionists and dieticians across the country – said the move would “hit farmers very hard.”
The protesters sent fruit and vegetable baskets to the homes of government officials last week, accompanied by a letter warning them not to apply VAT to the crops, because they are “a key component of people’s main meals” and “hold a nutritional value very significant for one’s health.”
“Yair Lapid’s plan to impose VAT on fruit and vegetables is a direct hit to lower-class families, and represents a damage which is difficult to digest for the middle class Israeli,” participants of the struggle wrote in a statement to The Jerusalem Post.
“Imposing the VAT would represent a hike of 18 percent in the price of fruits and vegetables which represent more than 20 percent of the basket of food consumed by Ricky Cohen’s and other similar families,” they continued, referencing the fictional stereotypical woman Lapid has invoked in discussing the budget. “This step proves that instead of finding creative solutions to serious deficit, Lapid is looking for the money on trees and in fields.”
Organizers of the campaign against the Treasury’s proposal held an emergency meeting on the subject on Wednesday night and said they would intensify their activities in the coming days with protests and media campaigns against Lapid’s initiative.
The meeting included top representatives of the kibbutz and moshav movements; the Plants Production and Marketing Board; the Kibbutz Industries Association; farmers’ associations; as well as representatives of NGOs, doctors, nutritionists and dieticians.