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Agriculture failing due to Gaza power crisis

April 1, 2012 2:05 P.M. (Updated: April 2, 2012 4:52 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Agricultural producers in the Gaza Strip are struggling with ongoing power cuts since the advent of a fuel-supply crisis last month.

Dozens of farms have reported poultry dying in their thousands as heating systems fail, and veterinary medicines have spoiled as refrigeration is cut off.

Produce that also depends on refrigeration has been damaged due to power cuts, with potato farmers saying they have dumped thousands of tons of potatoes.

Farmer Hamdi Jirjawi told Ma'an the failure of his 570-ton potato crop cost him 798, 000 shekels, so he is unable to pay workers' wages.

Meanwhile, high demand and low supplies has caused a price spike in agricultural produce.

Since Egypt sought an alternative route for fuel supplies to the underground tunnel network in mid-February, Gaza has faced up to 18-hour power cuts each day.

Officials in Gaza and Abbas' Palestinian Authority say they have reached a deal with Egypt to bring fuel via the Rafah crossing to resolve the crisis.
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