The unusually harsh winter storm that struck Israel two weeks ago is long over, yet fruit and vegetable prices are still higher than usual for the season, and some products are still in short supply.
Vegetables that have become significantly more expensive over the past three weeks include tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants and zucchini. The list price for tomatoes published by the Plants Production and Marketing Board – the wholesale price -- jumped by more than 300%, and is now 8.40 shekels per kilo, up from 2.50 shekels two and a half weeks ago. A price check conducted by TheMarker 10 days ago, right after the storm ended, found that tomatoes were 4.50 shekels per kilo.
The list price for eggplant jumped from 2.80 shekels per kilo two and a half weeks ago to 5.50 shekels per kilo after the storm and 8.50 shekels now. The price of cucumbers also doubled, to 7.80 shekels. Zucchini is now 13 shekels per kilo; before the storm it was 4.20 shekels.
Meir Yifrach, the secretary of the Vegetable Growers Association, said prices would continue being high for the next few weeks. Importing produce from countries such as the Netherlands or Turkey wouldn’t help, since vegetables are expensive there and transport adds to the cost even further, he noted.
Prices are high because crops are ripening more slowly than usual due to the cold weather, he noted. In addition, some fields were damaged by the storm.
Supermarket mogul Rami Levi noted that his stores had everything but zucchini “The price shot up to a very high NIS 13 per kilo, and I don’t want to buy at any price and create more demand.” he explained.