Jerusalem (Dec. 10)
Germany as well as England, is now an important consumer of Jaffa oranges. Last year 300,000 cases were sold to Germany, which is a 50 per cent increase over the previous year. This development for oranges is good hearing for the Palestine growers, for the constant extension of the area under cultivation which will soon be making itself felt on the figures of production to a marked extent, calls for a corresponding extension of outlets if the industry, hitherto largely dependent on exports to the United Kingdom, is to remain a remunerative one.
The present area under orange groves is estimated to be between twenty and twenty-three thousand acres. The shipments last year amounted to about two million cases and are expected to exceed two and a half million this year.
The rate of increase since 1922 has been remarkable. At the clase of that year the area was no more than 8,000 acres; at the beginning of 1924 it was 8,500 acres, while at the end of 1926 it amounted to approximately 10,000 acres. A further 4,500 acres was added in 1927, while 1928 saw the area brought up to 17,500 acres, which in 1929 had increased to about 25,000 acres.
In estimating the production of oranges in the next few years, it has to be borne in mind that there has not been time for the large increase in the area to have a pronounced effect on the yield. From this season onwards a large increase in the output is to be expected, and as this will become more pronounced over a period of years, it is evident that the oranges available for export will soon be double the present total. The area available for orange cultivation is estimated at 70,000 acres, so that some 45,000 acres remain on which oranges can be grown.
The market for Jaffa oranges is expanding, and while for the next few years there will probably be no difficulty in disposing of the crop, experts are already sounding a warning that expansion of this industry must not be allowed to the exclusion of others. There must come a time, they say, when the production of oranges reaches a limit beyond which it will not be safe to go. When the orange groves of Palestine are yielding the maximum that can be safely obtained, the country will probimportant industries which will have ably be in the happy possession of other broadened the basis of her national economy.
Interesting comparisons between the orange groves of California and Palestine have been made by a Palestinian grower recently a visitor to Southern California. Here the yield per acre in a well tended orchard is nearly twice as great as in California. Labor is cheaper here, but the Californian grower may take comfort in the fact that he at least does not have to fence in his orchards or pay wages to a watchman, both of which may be counted among the blessings of a land where security prevails.
In considering future sources of revenue to Palestine, the banana industry, which is still in its infancy here, must not be forgotten. A fillip is likely to be given to it now by the action of the Palestine Railways, who have purchased special trucks from England constructed for use in the banana trade. As a result of these new trucks, it will be possible for Palestine bananas to be sold in the markets of Egypt within twenty-four hours of the time they are packed, and it may also be possible to supply the English market with Palestine bananas.