Over two weeks after planting their wheat seeds, Israeli farmers are fearful that the lack of rain in December will significantly damage their crops, Ynet reported.
“Some land parts need water by tomorrow, and some may hold on for another week, but in any case, the damage has already been done,” said Alon Shoshani, a farmer in the north.
Israeli farmers grow about a million acres of wheat each year and about 35,000 of those acres are in Israel’s north. Since about a quarter of those acres has no irrigation infrastructure, many of the seeds that have already sprouted will rot.
Shoshani, who has about 9,000 acres of wheat fields, told Ynet he is more and more worried about the future. “The seeding season begins at the end of November and we rely on the showers, which are late this year,” he said. “The dryness already affects the plants and it will affect their further growth. We water the crops as much as we can in order to salvage them but it will result in almost no profit due to the rising water prices.”
In response to a query, Israel’s Fund for Natural Risks in Agriculture responded that most of Israel’s wheat fields have no irrigation infrastructure and it’s estimated that by the end of December, farmers may suffer NIS 2 million ($581,000) in financial losses. However, a wheat shortage is not expected as Israel imports 90% of its wheat from abroad.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)