Fresh produce prices continued to rise on Wednesday morning, maintaining the upward trend that began before the Jewish New Year.
Cucumbers have doubled their price since the beginning of the month - up to NIS 8 per kg, wholesale - with tomato prices jumping 87% in that time. The other vegetables most sharply affected were red peppers and zucchinis.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel has been subjected to much criticism for not taking more steps to lower the produce prices. He was further criticized for his announcement - the day after "Globes" reported the exorbitant prices - that the ministry would allow the import of vegetables from Europe to lower prices before the holiday.
The announcement was released with only 4 business days left ahead of the holiday; according to senior industry sources, it was impossible to import vegetables in such a short time frame.
According to the CEO of Shaft, a fruit and vegetable distributor, "Ariel's announcements were lacking, they showed complete lack of professionalism. To import vegetables from Turkey or the Netherlands takes two weeks. Jordan may be more accessible, but it also suffers from the same trouble as us."
He further charged that Ariel should have expected the problem - both because of the heat wave and because prices always rise drastically ahead of the holiday. "It was possible to start preparing two weeks ahead and import deliveries, even from far away. His announcement was not coordinated with the relevant authorities in his own ministry; it was all bark and no bite."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on September 16, 2015
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