Vegetable prices rise rapidly across West Bank
Published Tuesday 22/10/2013 (updated) 22/10/2013 12:45
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Vegetable prices in the West Bank have risen dramatically in the last few days, and observers say the prices of tomatoes will skyrocket in the near future.
Prices of almost all vegetables are expected to increase rapidly, especially those of potatoes, onions and tomatoes.
The price of a kilogram of tomatoes is expected to surpass 10 shekels soon, even though that amount of money would have bought ten kilograms only a few weeks ago.
In an exclusive interview with Ma'an, Palestinian Minister of Agriculture Walid Assaf predicted that prices would decrease again by mid-November.
He stressed that the reason behind the currently high prices was the cold weather experienced across the West Bank near the end of September, which had affected crops in open fields and had seriously reduced productivity.
Another reason for the current high process, Assaf said, is that open fields in areas of the West Bank controlled by Israel had sustained damages from the cold spell as well.
"The ministry of agriculture does not have any control over areas under Israeli control, and as a result merchants in those areas export tomatoes to Israel. The Palestinian market isn't fully separated from the Israeli market."
The minister also highlighted that there are not enough cold storage facilities for vegetables and fruits. However, he revealed that the ministry planned to build four cold storage facilities, which he expected to be completed by spring 2014.