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Israelis paying a honey of a price

JTA

September 22, 2011 | 11:23 am

The price of Israeli honey is soaring because of “outrageous” customs duties that prevent imports and therefore competition, according to a new study.

The Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies in a study released Wednesday recommends eliminating high tariffs on honey to increase the amount of imported honey and the number of countries from which it is imported. Meanwhile, the market share of Israel’s Kibbutz Yad Mordechai honey is over 50 percent.

The cost of Israeli honey rose 26 percent between 2005 and 2010, the independent, nonprofit economic policy think tank’s study said.

According to the study, Israeli honey costs 3 1/2 times as much as in the United States and is twice as expensive as in Britain. Canada, Mexico, Argentina and China offer honey for export at 15 percent of the price of Israeli honey.

The Israel Honey Production and Marketing Board claims that the figures in the report are wrong and untruthful, Haaretz reported, and has threatened to take legal action against the institute.

Institute economist Keren Harel-Harari said that 40 percent of the annual consumption of honey in Israel takes place at holiday time this month, mainly on the Jewish New Year, and that Israelis will consume 1,500 tons of honey in one month, valued at about $16.2 million.

Meanwhile, pomegranates in Israel are being marked up to between 200 percent and 330 percent during the holiday season according to farmers, Haaretz reported.

Israeli farmers produced 20 percent more pomegranates this year over last year, at about 40,000 tons, the paper wrote. About 16,000 tons are exported.

The farmers say they are selling the red fruit for under a dollar a kilogram, but that retailers are selling them for between $2.50 and $3.50 a kilogram.

Pomegranates have become more popular because of its reputation for healthful properties.

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