Farmers in Atoof, located to the east of Tammoun in the Governorate of Tubas, woke up to find that a tragedy befell in their plains as a wave of frost destroyed their crops overnight. Potato, pepper and bean crops were completely damaged.
Hasna Al Rantisy – Palestine Economy Portal
Translated by: Tamara Barakat
Thousands of Damaged Dunums
Crops planted in over five thousand dunums of plains were completely damaged. Mohammad Hussein, Chair of the Tammoun Association for Protected Cultivation, explains that these plains produce 70% of the Palestinian citizen’s vegetable needs. Moreover, they are almost the only producer of potato crops.
Hussein says that he has not witnessed a wave of frost as severe as this in thirty years. None of the measures that they have taken succeeded in preventing or overcoming the effects of this frost.
He emphasizes that all measures for overcoming the frost were taken as soon as the farmers heard the weather forecast, but to no avail. The measures could not protect any of the crops from damage.
Calls for Relief
The Chair of the Tammoun Association for Protected Cultivation called on the Palestinian Prime Minister to visit the area to survey the size of the losses suffered by the farmers in Tammoun. He also called on all concerned parties to stand next to the farmers, help indemnify them from their losses, and support their steadfastness in this marginalized area that is located near settlements.
Additionally, farmers suffering from losses due to the frost wave appealed to the media, Ministry of Agriculture, and all other relevant parties to support them and help compensate them for their losses.
They complained about the lack of concern they receive from the Ministry of Agriculture, and the lack of indemnities to their previously incurred losses.
No Indemnities for those Suffering from Losses
In a statement made by Sanaa Khanfar, Director of Public Relations and Media in the Agricultural Directory of Tubas, she said that the Directory compensated the farmers for the losses to their crops caused by the wind last year. However, those whose crops were harmed by the frost were not indemnified.
She also added, “The area of damaged plains due to frost last year was eight thousand dunums, mostly planted with zucchini and potatoes. And according to the Ministry of Agriculture, these losses amounted to 40 million shekels. Farmers were compensated with an amount of 17 million shekels, given mostly to greenhouse owners in order to protect their vegetable crops from total damage.”
It is worth mentioning that there are two funds dedicated to farmers – the Disaster Risk Reduction and the Agricultural Insurance Funds – but none of them has been activated yet.