Tomato prices in the West Bank have dropped due to imports from Israel, prompting farmers and merchants to urge for intervention by the ministry of agriculture to protect local products.
At the same time, consumers are welcoming the low prices which fell to a half a shekel per kilo as a result of the surplus after local and imported products flooded Palestinian markets.
Muhammad Hamdan, a Palestinian shopper, told Ma’an Wednesday he hoped the ministry of agriculture would “allow importing other vegetables in order to lower prices and help Palestinian citizens face the dire economic conditions.”
He noted that a kilo of tomatos reached 10 shekels at some points in 2013.
Local merchant Abdul-Raof Ideis says the current prices are the result of a huge surplus in local markets because large quantities are being imported from Israel while the local harvest is already flooding the market.
An official in the ministry of agriculture told Ma'an that it had already warned merchants in the central farmers market in Hebron to avoid importing tomatoes from Israel except with a special permit.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, added that the ministry would start Thursday dumping tomatoes imported from Israel in an attempt to protect national products.