A very interesting report on the activities of thee Executive of the Jewish Agency for the year 1933-34 has been issued here, comprising details on the activities of the departments of colonization, immigration, settlement of German Jews and statistical investigation.
The report shows on the whole a satisfactory state of affairs, though the “mad soaring of rural real estate prices” and the fever of speculation generally are disquieting features, all measures to conduct land purchases into normal and organized channels having proved unavailing.
The citrus industry has progressed and developed greatly, and the crop this year yielded 5,500,000 boxes as compared with 4,500,000 boxes in the preceding year, while the prospects of 12,000,000 to 15,000,000 boxes of fruit within four or five years is foreshadowed. To cope with this tremendous increase there will have to be a great deal of reorganization in the system and methods of cultivation, packing, storage, etc.
As regards mixed farming, the settlements founded on national soil in the Emek, while unaffected by the general prosperity, have gained “secure economic positions capable of withstanding the fluctuations of markets and internal crises.” Crops in the majority of places were good, while the prices obtained were satisfactory.
The Keren Hayesod settlements attained “a very encouraging and promising stage of development,” and improved their internal organization in the sphere of buying and selling, through the general economic prosperity of the country. Their economic soundness has been proved beyond doubt.
The whole structure of agricultural development has been established on a more scientific basis. An arrangement was made with the Haifa Technical Institute whereby specialists guided the settlements in the use and care of agricultural implements, to great advantage. Great assistance was also given by the experts from the Extension Department and the Agricultural Experiment Station.
As regards dairying, favorable results were obtained through crossing local cattle with the Dutch breed, and a pedigree book is now being drawn up which will facilitate efficient selection later on. The quantity of milk sold exceeded by thirty per cent that sold the year before and by 140 per cent that sold ten years ago. On the other hand there has been very little advance in poultry farming in spite of the great demand for eggs and fowls. The settlements sent 4,000,000 eggs to market, whereas 34,000,000 were imported from abroad. The quality of the poultry and the yield per hen, has however, improved considerably, thanks to the assistance given by experts.
“Poultry-farming,” the report reads, “requires a large investment of capital and is not to be encouraged unless joined to dairy-farming or vegetable-growing.” The latter, it is stated, could expand considerably, but growers would have to cultivate new and improved varieties in order to compete with the non-Jewish growers in Palestine and the neighboring countries.
As regards fruit growing, the position is satisfactory and private companies have been formed to plant orchard settlements in the hill country round about Jerusalem.
The population of the settlements founded with the aid of the Keren Hayesod funds is estimated at 10,000 to 12,000 souls. Emek Hephir (Wadi Hawereth) was transferred from the Arabs to the Jewish Agency, and the skeletons of agricultural settlements are already in existence, in spite of the many difficulties encountered by the first settlement.
Immigration in 1933-34 exceeded that in 1932-33 by more than eighty per cent. Together with the natural increase and other factors, the Jewish population increased by some 50,000 persons. The number of tourists who obtained permission to settle permanently also increased tremendouslyâ€”from September to December there were only 133, but from January to August there were 2,659 who obtained permission. The German “Aliyah,” we are told is notable for the record proportion of capitalists; from January to June the proportion of capitalists being 44.7 per cent. During the same period only 16.4 per cent of immigrants from other countries were capitalists.
The disparity between immigration certificates granted by the Government and the estimate of the Jewish Agency is stressed. About fifty per cent of the permits allotted were given to Chalutzim who had received training and the remainder to skilled laborers, while great attention was also given to the question of obtaining certificates for artisans. From 1929 to 1931 only forty-one permits were issued to persons of this category, while in 1933-1934, 150 permits were issued. Three hundred and two permits were also given on the application of the Farmers’ Federation to Oriental Jews for agricultural labor in the colonies.