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Israeli agricultural body considers Gaza tomato import

May 7, 2012 10:00 A.M. (Updated: May 8, 2012 7:00 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- An Israeli agricultural body is considering importing tomatoes from the Gaza Strip in response to a sudden price increase, Israeli media said Sunday.

The Secretary of the Vegetable Growers' Association in Israel says it is considering buying produce from the Gaza Strip, even though the growing process is not monitored, Voice of Israel radio said Sunday.

Gaza would be ready to export tomatoes to Israel if there was an official request, Palestinian border crossing official Raed Fattouh told Ma'an in response.

Israeli military forces control the export process of Palestinian products into Israeli markets, Fattouh said, adding that the Palestinian Authority has not received any official request to export vegetables to Israel.

Israeli daily Haaretz reported last week that tomato prices had nearly doubled over a two week period in the country, reaching NIS 7.2 per kilogram.

Prices could rise to NIS 16 per kg, Israeli daily Maariv said Sunday.

In February, Israeli authorities allowed tomatoes to be exported from the Gaza Strip to Jordan, the first such export from the coastal enclave to the Hashemite kingdom since 2007.

In October 2011, Israeli officials temporarily lifted a ban on agricultural exports from the Gaza Strip to allow the entry of palm fronds used to mark a Jewish holiday, Hebrew-language Israeli daily Maariv reported.
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