Long Heat Wave in Palestine Seriously Impairs Citrus Crop

The hot spell the last six weeks has caused considerable damage to all fruits, and so great is the demand, with only restricted supplies available locally as well as from Syria, that fruit merchants have commenced importing apricots, plums and other fruits from Italy.

That the damage caused to citrus fruit is far more serious than previously thought, is the report by the director of agriculture in the monthly horticultural notes for June.

Most of the fruit, borne on trees grafted on sour stock, has dropped.

The drop is not very serious in orchards near the coast or in orchards well irrigated before the heat wave. Grapefruit has not suffered much, and next season’s crop is estimated at about 1250,000 cases.

Oranges will probably be slightly larger in size owing to scarcity of fruit on the trees. The total crop is still estimated at six to eight million cases.

Low prices prevailing in the markets have discouraged extensive new planting of oranges, and the new areas are less than was anticipated.

Young banana plantations were badly affected by the heat, while there was a serious drop of olives on trees. The latter crop will be only about fifty per cent of the normal. A substantial reduction of all Summer fruits is recorded owing to the scorching winds.

Field vegetable crops have been most adversely affected on the central plain of Palestine, and a reduction of at least forty per cent in the yield is expected, while irrigated vegetables have also suffered, though less severely, as a consequence of the unseasonably hot weather, accompanied by easterly winds.

The statement of rainfall for the twelve months ending May 31 indicates that while Acre had a surplus over its nine years’ average of 28½ millimeters and Tel Aviv, of 193 millimeters, Jerusalem had about 129 mm less than its 86 years’ mean rainfall, Haifa about 74 mm. less, and Gaza some 25 mm. under the 23 years’ average.

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