70% of tomato crop could go unharvested, government warns, as agricultural work ceases in south

Gavriel Fiske is a reporter at The Times of Israel

The war in the south could jeopardize collection and transport of fruits and vegetables from farms there, the Agriculture Ministry says in a statement, calling the area Israel’s breadbasket.

Currently, in accordance with Home Front Command directives, there is “no agricultural activity” in the areas adjacent to the Gaza Strip. Therefore there is an issue around “the logistics of supplying food from the southern region to the general public,” the ministry says.

The affected areas include 4,000 acres of tomato hothouses, which constitute 70% of the country’s supply, along with some 15,000 acres of potatoes and 5,500 acres of carrots that were just planted, 2,500 acres of radishes, 1,100 acres of sweet potatoes, 620 acres of peppers, 620 actress of eggplants, 500 acres of cabbage, 250 acres of special insect-free greenhouses for green leafy vegetables, and around 600 further acres of greenhouses for flowers and commercial plants.

In a separate notice, the ministry says that together with the IDF, a “secure logistics corridor” was being implemented in order to aid in transporting produce and livestock from the south of the country to stores.

The unprecedented callup of IDF reservists has affected workers along the entire food-production supply chain and in response, the ministry has asked for local authorities’ help with recruiting high school volunteers to fill the gaps, the notice says.

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