Israeli settlement exports from the Jordan Valley down $29 million in 2013 due to international boycott
The Associated Press reports that the success of the international boycott movement is starting to squeeze Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley:
An international campaign to boycott Israeli settlement products has rapidly turned from a distant nuisance into a harsh economic reality for Israeli farmers in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley.
The export-driven income of growers in the valley’s 21 settlements dropped by more than 14 percent, or $29 million, last year, largely because Western European supermarket chains, particularly those in Britain and Scandinavia, are increasingly shunning the area’s peppers, dates, grapes and fresh herbs, settlers say.
“The damage is enormous,” said David Elhayani, head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, which represents about 7,000 settlers. “In effect, today, we are almost not selling to the (Western) European market anymore.
The article continues:
But economic worries are growing for some of the valley’s farmers.Niva Benzion, who lives in the Netiv Hagdud settlement, used to sell 80 percent of her sweet peppers and grapes to supermarket chains in Western Europe, particularly in Britain.Sales to Western Europe plummeted in the past two years, she said, adding that she now sells mostly to Eastern Europe and Russia, for up to 40 percent less. She reduced her growing area by one-third this season and doubts she can make ends meet in the future.Zvi Avner, head of the agriculture committee in the Jordan Valley, confirmed that sales of peppers and grapes to Western Europe — mainly Britain and Scandinavia — have dropped by about 50 percent and fresh herbs by about 30 to 40 percent.Avner and Elhayani said they are confident they can overcome the difficulties by selling in new markets and by farming more effectively.
Michael Deas, a coordinator for the BDS movement is Europe says, “Supermarkets are now starting to realize that there’s a really big reputational risk involved here.”