Syria Fighting Stalls Golan Apple Harvest Shipment to Syria
For the second year in a row, Israeli Jewish and Druze apple growers on the Golan Heights are unable to send their produce to Syria, due to the fierce fighting between Syrian troops, ISIS terrorists, and rebel forces near the Quneitra crossing point, Israel’s NRG News reported Wednesday.
Exports of the Hermon and Golden Delicious varieties from Israel to Syria, via the UN-run facility, lasted nearly a decade, and included shipments of 7,000 to 10,000 tons of apples annually, netting local farmers some 14-20 million shekels in income.
Usually apples were transferred to Syria via Syrian farmers. The apple growers and their counterparts on the Israeli side evolved a trusting business relationship over the years, and it’s likely that traders on the Syrian side are missing their cross-border partnerships.
“Under present conditions there is no possibility of an orderly and safe transfer of the fruit, and certainly not for financial compensation for them,” explained Itzik Cohen, CEO of the Israeli Fruit Growers Association.
Unfortunately, the cessation of the exports to Syria comes in a year of rich harvest: a tour conducted by fruit industry leaders, packing plants, and kibbutzim in the Upper Galilee indicated that the amount of crops will be higher than last year and of a higher quality.