Thousands of Farmers Demonstrated in Jerusalem

They Protest against Agriculture's Depressed State and Called to Halt the Supply of Agricultural Produce
December 20, 2016
Thousands of Farmers Demonstrated in Jerusalem (Enlarge)

On a cold and wet morning, this week thousands of farmers gathered at the Knesset Rose Park in Jerusalem for a demonstration where they called to halt the supply of agricultural produce. Additionally, they spilled dozens of crates with farm produce on the ground outside the Knesset Plaza and at the entrance to the Ministry of Finance building all in protest against their dismal condition. Convoys of vehicles, vans, trucks and buses made the journey to the demonstration in Jerusalem from the north as well as from the south of the country, disrupting the traffic along the way for several hours.


It should be recalled here that for a number of years now agriculture has been facing a serious crisis, which has been gradually deteriorating to the point where many farms are running a real risk of becoming unsustainable since many farmers have lost the joy of creation in this field owing to a lack of profitability, extensive bureaucracy, excessive taxes levied on them, and also due to the decline in their status leading to the closure of the farm as a business and the consequent end to their life's work.


During the past eighteen months, the Israeli Farmer's Association has been negotiating with the Ministries of Finance and Agriculture about a strategic plan for the next 15 years covering all the relevant agricultural issues. However, the negotiations ended in deadlock after the Ministries concerned declared that the agreement would be signed only on condition that the local markets will be opened to unrestricted imports and that the planning of the egg-producing and dairy sectors would be abolished.


The leaders of the Israeli Farmer's Association made the following demands: Cutting the prices for water and cancelling the intention to nationalize the agricultural water associations; putting a stop to unrestricted imports, taking action against the concentration in the retail trade and on profit margins, together with the construction of a new wholesale market, in addition to taking steps on the whole issue of foreign workers, support for agricultural exports, an agreement on the egg-producing sector, making equitable arrangements for farmers' insurance (Kanat) and the Agricultural Investment Administration.

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