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Jordanian activists call for boycott on Israeli fruit
Voices in Jordan are once again calling for formal measures to prevent the entry of Israeli agricultural products into the country, amid demands to boycott them and prevent their entry altogether.
Consumers and activists complain that these products are often sold on the local market as if they had been imported from the Palestinian territories or other countries.
According to the Government's Department of Statistics, the most important agricultural products imported from Israel are mangoes, avocados, pineapples and other fruit varieties, in addition to some vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes.
Jordan signed an economic and trade cooperation agreement with Israel in 1995, but a popular refusal to normalise economic relations prevents the growth of trade between the two sides.
"The government does not import any agricultural products from abroad, except in cases when there is an insufficient supply in the local market," said Nimr Haddadin, spokesperson for the Ministry of Agriculture.
For its part, the government makes it compulsory for traders to make sure that imported products comply with Jordanian specifications and are free of any pesticides or contaminants, while enforcing inspections at the border.
The mango season in the Middle East started weeks ago, and Israel is one of the main producers in the region, growing large quantities for the supply of the domestic market and for export.
Anas Mahadeen, director for Vegetables and Fruits at the Jordanian Central Market, reported that a great number of fruit varieties, as well as vegetables, are imported daily from many origins; however, the market share of the majority of those imports, usually in the case of fruit, does not exceed 25%.
"The Jordanian government won't try to prevent the entry of these products, despite the repeated popular demands," said Ahmed al-Armouti, head of the Supreme Executive Committee for Homeland Protection.
The value of Jordan's imports from Israel during the first half of this year stood at 7.4 million dinars (US$ 10.4 million) compared to 10.3 million dinars (US$ 14.5 million) during the same period last year.
Publication date: 8/29/2017
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