New report: Palestinian agriculture sector losses US$1.6 billion in five years
The Palestinian agricultural sector has been suffering for the past five years from a considerable deterioration due to the security situation and Israeli steps such as the confiscation of lands. The independent Palestinian board for human rights estimated the direct and indirect losses to the sector at some US$1.6 billion.
The report pointed out that the sector came under a lot of harsh Israeli measures, including uprooting the fruitful trees, massive bulldozing of the agricultural crops, subverting water wells and irrigation networks, devastating the hot houses, targeting animal folds, poultries, and apiaries, impeding fishermen's work, and closing down border terminals in a manner that negatively affected the agricultural outputs.
All these made the contribution of the agricultural sector to the Palestinian gross domestic product plummet to 9% in 2003 down from 13.7% in 1994.
The Israeli closure imposed on the Palestinian lands in that same period caused the volume of the Palestinian agricultural exports to drop by 52.6% as the agricultural exports to Israel dropped from 74.4% to 29.7% while those to the Arab countries slipped from 18.7% to 5.1%, according to the report.
The costs of the agricultural unit output during the closure period went up by 22% in comparison to the pre-closure period, it pointed out.
It underlined that the transport cost of the agricultural crops jumped by 35.6% during the closure period compared to that in the pre-closure period as the duration needed to transport those crops to Palestinian markets increased by 40%.
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