JERUSALEM (Mar. 21)
Israel has asked the United States Export-Import Bank for a $75,000,000 loan repayable over 25 years to help finance a four-year agricultural development program, it was reported here today.
The program, details of which will be supplied to the bank in the next few weeks, calls for increasing Israel’s agricultural output by 60 percent over 1955 through the greater use of agricultural machinery and the further exploitation of Israel’s water resources other than the Jordan River.
The loan would be used chiefly to purchase agricultural machinery and would constitute about one-third of the total cost of the four-year plan. The plan visualizes a net improvement of $40,000,000 annually in Israel’s balance of payment.
The bank previously loaned Israel $135,000,000, of which $70,000,000 was for agricultural purposes. In 14 semi-annual payments, Israel has already repaid the bank some $35,800,000, of which about $21,000,000 was interest and $15,000,000 on account of principal.
Meanwhile, it was learned that Israeli engineers have initiated a comprehensive study of Israel’s underground water resources, particularly in the coastal area. It is understood that they plan to sink 100 new wells, in a project assisted by the United States Operations Mission in Israel.