A number of Palestinian producers have recently started harvesting the oranges and clementines that have completed their ripening process.
These growers work in the Shanti field, which has an area of 20 dunums (20,000 square meters), in the northern Gaza Strip.
"This year's citrus production is small compared to last year," said producer Youssef Al-Shanti, owner of the field.
Al-Shanti is one of the many producers who have started harvesting citrus fruits, following the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture's decision to open the season last Thursday.
Al-Shanti said that the lack of rains has taken a toll and caused a reduction in the production volume. Besides, the high production cost, amounting to 428 USD per ton, has also been a burden for the growers.
He said that "today, a kilo of citrus fruits is sold at a price not exceeding half a dollar, which leads to us suffering great financial losses."
He explained that the deteriorating economic situation of the residents of the Gaza Strip and the lack of income sources for them have caused a decrease in sales, which has in turn led to lower prices.
Al-Shanti said that the previous year was better in terms of sales and prices for the growers and traders.
He also said that the lack of fertilizers and pesticides has posed a great challenge for them during the citrus growing season.
Ibrahim Al-Qudra, Undersecretary of the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture in the Gaza Strip, says that the area planted with citrus fruits stand at 14,000 dunums. These plantations are expected to yield about 34 thousand tons of citrus fruits during the current season.