Israeli farmers to suffer disastrous losses due to Russia crisis

Current financial crisis in Russia hits Israel’s agricultural exports with devastating losses at $51 million, amounting to 30% of all Israeli exports to Russia according to Israel’s Farmers Association.

By Hezi Sternlicht & Israel Hayom Staff


The unfolding financial crisis in Russia may have devastating effects on Israel’s agricultural exports, the Israeli Farmers Association warned Tuesday.

Israeli farmers have been financially compromised by the crisis in Russia, Farmers Association warns [Illustrative] – Photot: David Einav

Russia is one of Israel’s primary exports market, with produce amounting to 30 percent of all exports.

The association, which is an umbrella organization for Israel’s agricultural bodies, was scheduled to hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday, to discuss the impact the Russian crisis may have on the local industry.

In a letter sent to farmers and exporters, Farmers Association Chairman Meir Zur warned, “The financial situation in Russia has a direct impact on Israel’s agricultural exports. The immediate losses suffered by the farmers amounts to 200 million shekels ($51 million). This is an extremely serious situation that requires immediate government intervention.”

Farmers and exporters, he continued, “Are on the verge of financial ruin. There has been a substantial decrease in exports, and there is a real concern among Israeli farmers that Russian clients would default on their debts because of the crisis.

“Thirty percent of Israel’s exports to Russia are of produce, including potatoes, bell peppers, carrots, avocados, radishes and citrus. Israeli farmers have been financially compromised by the crisis in Russia, because produce is sold at a substantial loss,” he said.

Meanwhile, Meir Yifrach, head of the Israeli Vegetable Growers Association, said that his organization planes to petition the Agriculture Ministry for immediate restitution over the damages caused by the crisis in Russia.

Citing similar concerns to those expressed by Zur, Yifrach said his organization seeks NIS 150 million ($38 million) in compensation for the farmers.

The rapid depreciation of the Russian ruble over the past few weeks, following the economic slowdown that has plagued Russia over the second half of 2014, has prompted the International Monetary Fund to warn Monday that the crisis may trigger a fresh phase of the global financial crisis.


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