"Gaza flowers barred from export to Europe"

For the third year in a row, the farmers in the Gaza Strip will not be able to export flowers to European markets, due to Israeli restrictions, according to www.imemc.org.

Since Dutch funding for the Gaza farmers was stopped three years ago, farming spaces shrank in size, ultimately affecting the amount of flowers produced throughout the year. Farmers now plant only 15 dunams (15.000 m2) of flowers, after planting nearly ​​150 (15.000 m2) dunams previously, according to Palestinian media agency Al Ray.

50-year-old Gaza farmer, Ibrahim Siyam, was cultivating more than 13 (13.000 m2) dunams, but the area was gradually reduced to 9 (9.000 m2) dunams. He says this is a result of the Israeli blockade on the region.

Siyam explained that most farmers refrained from farming flowers due to the high cost and low benefits, as they cannot export their products.

The Gaza Strip exported about 50 million flowers, annually, to Europe until 2004. But, farmers in 2012 were able to export no more than five million flowers. According to www.imemc.org, this is because of the repeated Israeli closures and constraints at borders crossings.

Source: International Middle East Media Center

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