Jerusalem, 12 May 1999

Agriculture and Water Use in Israel

(Communicated by Central Bureau of Statistics)

The Central Bureau of Statistics has today (Wednesday) 12.5.99, released comprehensive statistics regarding agriculture and water use in Israel for 1997.

Total land allocated for agriculture was 5.6 million dunam (560,000 hectares or 1.4 million acres), which has remained unchanged for several years. Of this, 3.4 million dunams was used for crops and pasture and 680,000 lay fallow and 150,000 was used for other agricultural purposes in cluding fish farms, buildings and roads. 43% of all agricultural land is worked by kibbutzim, cooperative villages, 30% by moshavim, 17% by Arab or Druze villages and 10% by other Jewish owned-households.

24% of agricultural land is used for orchards (825,000 dunams) and 76% for annual crops, including cereals, vegetables and flowers. 43,000 dunams of crops are grown in greenhouses, hothouses or by other high- intensity methods. Use of these typs of agriculture increased by 7% between 1992 and 1997.

Citrus orchards accounted for 32% of all orchards (207,000) — 60,000 dunams less than in 1992. Other crops increased acreage, including bananas, grapes and dates. Olives accounted for 125,800 dunams, mostly grown by Arab villagers.

Vegetables accounted for 515,000 dunams (14% of total acreage), of which 22,000 — mostly in moshavim — were grown in hothouses. Flowers accounted for 46,000 dunams, of which 20,700 dunams were under cover, 19,000 in the open and 6,300 were grasses for sale. Most of these crops were grown by moshavim. The flower sector has seen considerable growth between 1992-97.

Cereals and grains accounted for the bulk of acreage — 2,062,000 dunams, or 61%. The main winter crop is wheat and the main summer crop is cotton.

Water use in 1997 was 1.24 billion cubic meters, similar to 1995 and 1996. 1.88 million dunams (55%) are irrigated. Of this quantity, 43% is for orchards, 24% for field crops, 17% for vegetables, 4% for flowers and 12% for fish and other animal husbandry. Fresh water accounts for 66% of total agricultural water use, treated wastewater — 17%, river and reservoir water — 10% and brackish water — 7%.