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Israel’s farmers to protest Liberman’s agriculture reforms

CM 28/07/2021

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Thousands of farmers are preparing to protest changes to agriculture laws proposed by Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman and Agriculture Minister Oded Forer.

Protests will be held Thursday morning at eight intersections throughout the country.
The farmers believe they will be financially hurt by the reforms. While many farmers understand that food prices are too high, they say this reform’s aims are misplaced as they should be targeting the suppliers of the products who they believe artificially inflate the prices.
“What the incendiary balloons, Hamas and Hezbollah have failed to do to date, they are trying to do to us from within,” one of the leaders of farmer’s protest said in a statement. “A unilateral move in the reform of agriculture in the Arrangements Law, without an agreement – will take Israel back 70 years.”
The new laws will recognize European standards on fruits and vegetables and will aim to create more competition in the industries as they believe that will lower prices. This will be done by gradually lowering tariffs on fruit and vegetables.

Alongside adopting European standards on fruits and vegetable regulations on European fruits will be loosened, meaning there will be a bigger range of fruits available all year round.
“The agriculture reform is one of the most important in the Arrangements Law and comes to strengthen the Israeli farmer while treating the cost of living and benefit with consumers.” Liberman said when announcing the reforms last week. He also said that the program will save Israelis some NIS 2.7 billion a year, or NIS 840 per household.
The reform does aim to appease the agricultural industry though, by including a support package that includes things such as direct financial support for each farmer per cultivated dunam. It also offers expanded tax benefits to encourage capital investment and an investment of over NIS 2 billion for raising productivity in the agriculture industry.
A meeting between representatives of the farmers and the Agriculture Ministry on Wednesday ended in acrimony. The ministry released a statement blaming the farmers for deliberately sabotaging the talks.
Zev Stub contributed to this report.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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