The damage to farmers across Israel due to the stormy conditions and frost from last week is upwards of 14 million shekels (just over $3.5 million). The number was reported by Kanat, the Insurance Fund for Natural Risks in Agriculture.
Since Thursday, the insurance fund has received over 700 phone calls from farmers regarding damage to their property or crops that was caused by the storm. The majority of the damage was caused by frost that occurred in various parts of Israel, mainly in the south. According to Kanat, frost is the greatest threat to farmers, and without a government instituted insurance plan many farmers would go bankrupt in situations like this.
Kanat reported that more than 50% of the damage occurred in the south, and the other roughly 50% occurred in sporadic locations throughout the central and northern farming regions. Kanat also reported that more than 60% of the complaints filed regarded damage to vegetable crops, specifically potatoes. Other vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, eggplants and squash were also damaged in certain areas.
Citrus fruits and avocados also suffered due to the harsh winds and frost. Other fruits that suffered severe damage were crops of loquat, sugar apple, mango, lychee, as well as early grapes and plums. Bananas as well as the flower industry were also harmed. Banana buds are especially susceptible to cold and there are worries regarding this year's crop output due to the cold snap.
Israel is expected to have another storm this weekend, but temperatures are not expected to hit the zero centigrade mark. While rain and storms are projected for Saturday and Sunday, the severe cold is not expected to be as extreme as last week's storm.