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Gaza vegetables to be shipped to Israel for first time in 8 years

March 11, 2015 1:49 P.M. (Updated: March 12, 2015 3:56 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) – Vegetables harvested in the Gaza Strip will be exported to Israel for the first time in eight years on Thursday.

A Gaza merchant, Salim Abu Samra, told Ma'an that four truckloads of Gaza tomatoes and eggplants would be shipped from the coastal enclave.

He confirmed that it would be the first shipment of its kind since Israel imposed a military blockade on Gaza in 2007 when Hamas came to power.

Before 2007, Gazan farmers used to regularly export carnations and strawberries to markets in the Middle East and in Europe.

However, agriculture in Gaza has been heavily affected by the blockade.

According to a 2013 American Near East Refugee Aid report, 46 percent of agricultural land in Gaza has been made inaccessible or unusable due to destruction caused by the "security buffer zone" as well as recent military conflicts.

The blockade has also seen the import of agricultural products restricted, including fertilizers and building materials for irrigation and wells, desperately needed to rebuild Gaza's infrastructure.

The labor force employed by farming dropped from 12.7 in 2007 percent to 7.1 percent in 2009.

Because 90 percent of farmers have less than half an acre of land in Gaza, most farmers produce only enough to feed their families, and are unable to engage in commercial farming.
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