Supermarkets across the country have suffered severe shortages in vegetables, poultry and eggs in recent days, with grocers blaming the empty shelves on the hectic holiday season, a particularly hot summer and diseased crops.
Shoppers have said chicken products have virtually vanished from the shelves in recent weeks, a problem said to have been caused by the lack of work days in which to operate slaughterhouses and collect eggs.
This year all of the holidays of the Jewish New Year — Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot — have fallen in the middle of the week, greatly diminishing the number of regular work days over the past month.
In addition, a particularly hot August has made it difficult to grow tomatoes, causing prices of the common vegetable to skyrocket, with some vendors selling at NIS 16 ($4) per kilo, up to four times the usual price. Crops have also suffered from diseases in the past season, grocers say, and cucumber and pepper prices have also gone up as a result.
As for when supply is expected to return to normal, the end of the holiday season should bring poultry and egg production rates back to normal within a few days. Vegetables may take a bit longer — several weeks possibly — as new crop batches are brought to market.
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