The Citrus Fruit Trade in Palestine: Growers Protest Against Proposed Government Levy

The citrus growers in Palestine are up in arms against a Government proposal to impose a levy of 7 mils a box to defray the cost of eradicating the black scale.

A committee consisting of Mr. Francois Gelat, Shukri Effendi Tazi, Mohammed Effendi Abdul Rahoum, Mr. Kenyon, Mr. Rokach, Mr. Rabinovitch and Mr. Riklis, has been elected by the citrus growers and authorised to submit to the authorities the objections of the trade.

The committee has had an interview with Mr. Pollack, the Assistant District Commissioner at Jaffa, in which it was pointed out that the Government expected from the proposed tax an amount of money equivalent to the entire revenue from the #erko. Mr. Tazi urged that the High Commissioner should be urged not to take a final decision in the matter until he had been in consultation with the Citus Fruit Committee.

The citrus growers’ case is that the progressive and careful grower treats his grove without waiting for the Government to do it and the levy would therefore result in his paying twice: once for his own voluntary cleansing, and a second time under compulsion in the form of the levy on his exported boxes; that a levy per exported box would throw the whole burden on the bearing groves only, at a time when only about one-third of the area under citrus fruit in the country is of bearing age, so that one-third of the growers would pay for the whole Community, and this although it is known that the young non-bearing groves of the country are much more seriously infested with scales than the bearing groves.

We hold, the growers contend, that the cost of fighting insect pests ought to be borne by the grower who has allowed his grove to become infested.

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