Exports of fresh agricultural produce (vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs) totaled $1.5 billion in 2007, constituting a 27% increase compared to the previous year. Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon announced the figures at the Sustainable Agriculture seminar last week, part of the Mashov international agriculture expo in Tel Aviv. Simhon attributed the increase to greater efficiency in agricultural production and exploitation of unique niche markets. Mashov exposition director Haim Allouche reported that sales of knowledge, equipment and agricultural produce during the two-day exhibition reached NIS 32 million. Organic agriculture starred at the convention, which was attended by delegates from 42 countries, including Muslim countries with no diplomatic relations with Israel, such as Indonesia. Many of the delegations were from developing nations of Africa, Asia and Latin America. A visit by a team of 200 farmers from the Palestinian Authority was canceled by the IDF.
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