The government on Wednesday unveiled a plan to lower the cost of fresh produce by cutting customs duties and opening up the sector to competition, potentially ending years when prices in Israel are well above the Western average.
The plan, which includes an aid package of direct and other aid to Israeli farmers, is expected to save consumers 2.7 billion shekels ($820 million) a year, the finance and agriculture ministries said in a joint statement.
It will be part of an economic package in the 2021-2022 budget, the first since Benjamin Netanyahu was ousted after 12 years of premiership in which farmers benefited from import barriers and quotas that pushed prices up.
The ministries said fruit and vegetable prices have risen by more than 80% in recent years, sparking public outcry.
Under the plan, taxes on eggs and many other fresh produce would be cut or lowered.
It also includes easing regulations on the import of fruits and vegetables through the adoption of European standards, and as a result, ministries expect a significant increase in the range of products offered in Israel.
The latest steps follow another plan announced by the government last week to overhaul Israel’s import policy to cut the cost of consumer goods that are as much as 80% more expensive than Western averages, largely by easing regulations.