Yulia Karra
December 12, 2023

A recent survey conducted by the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute found that 89 percent of Israeli farmers have been negatively impacted by the war in Gaza.

MIGAL, a mega-R&D center supported by Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology, also found 96% of farmers expect their business to be damaged further in the next three months. 

At least 389 farmers participated in the survey, conducted between October 26 and November 5.

Organic NGO offers first aid for Israel’s wounded southern farms
Farm destruction in a Gaza border farm after October 7, 2023. Photo courtesy of Organic Israel

Two years ago, a group of farmers and environmentalists founded Organic Israel with the twin goals of improving environmental and food quality in Israel, and getting organic produce to low-income families.

“Then the 7th of October came,” says CEO Guy Rilov, “and we decided to shift all efforts to our brother farmers in the otef,” the Gaza border communities.

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Although farmers from all areas of the country have been affected by the war, those from southern and northern Israel face the most challenges, primarily loss of workforce and disruptions to marketing operations.

Farmers from the border areas also don’t have access to their fields, some of which have been declared battle zones, and can’t freely transport the produce to market. 

An avocado plantation in the Upper Galilee. Photo by Tikshorot
An avocado plantation in the Upper Galilee. Photo by Tikshorot

The disruptions have resulted in an average drop of 35% in production and income for Israeli agriculture in general, and a 70% drop for farmers in the Gaza border region in particular. 

The digital survey was conducted by MIGAL’s agricultural economic expert Adam Abramson, and Haya Rak Yahalom, manager of the Northern Research and Development Institute. The survey was distributed via social networks and governmental agricultural channels. 

Israeli volunteers harvesting avocado at a farm in the Upper Galilee. Photo by Avocado Gal
Israeli volunteers harvesting avocado at a farm in the Upper Galilee. Photo by Avocado Gal

Abramson said the war is having a “devastating” impact on agriculture in the country.

“The industry’s ability to recover will depend on our ability to implement creative solutions that assure a steady workforce, open new marketing channels and secure daily access to the farms. It will require out-of-the-box thinking and swift action,” he said. 

“Farmers are calling on the government to loosen restrictions on recruiting foreign workers, to provide financial incentives and training for Israeli workers, and more. They also appeal to the government to declare food security a national priority, to implement subsidies, to reduce the price of water, to increase the availability of pesticides and other inputs, and to create national marketing initiatives.”

For complete results of the survey, click here.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

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