As this survey is written before the year is out, it obviously does not cover the whole of 5692, but a sufficiently large part of the year now lies behind us to enable us to judge what it has brought us, and in some measure also what it is yet likely to hold in store for us. Up to the present, Palestine has remained singularly unaffected by all the more severe symptoms and consequences of the world depression.
Of course, at a time when the prices of agricultural products all over the world have gone below pre-war level, things cannot be expected to be different in the Holy Land, and the consequences for the agriculturist are naturally the same as everywhere else. But even so it must be remembered that the value of the total wheat and barley crop of the whole country is less than of the orange crop alone. Most fortunately and remarkably the price of Jaffa oranges on the world market has shown a gratifying steadiness, and the average yield per box in the 1931-32 season was in no way worse than in the previous season.
Altogether the development of Palestine’s citrus industry is most striking, and the Jews certainly take the most prominent part in it. While the season under review witnesses an export of three and a half million boxes, trade experts have estimated the probable export five years hence at seven million boxes. This figure can be calculated with a fair amount of confidence, on the strenghth of the present area under cultivation, and it does not reckon with any new areas to be planted in the future, which could begin to influence export figures only in six years or so.
Grapefruit is gradually becoming quite an important product. It is estimated that in five years time, at least three quarters of a million boxes will be exported.
Compared with this all-important branch of agricultural industry, the wine industry has been relegated to comparative insignificance. Rishon-le-Zion, famous for its wine cellars, is increasingly replacing its vineyards by orange groves. Still, it may be noted that the Rishon wine cellars have in the present year sold about 15 percent more than in the previous year.
Grain crops, which were threatened by what was thought to develop into a drought, are after all, on the whole, coming out reasonably well, and the pest of field mice which ravaged crops last year has also very much abated.
The small industries, concentrated mainly in Tel-Aviv, are showing re-