AS ISRAEL has declared itself at war with the Palestinians, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Tuesday that the conflict is not likely to cause a major disruption to the Philippines’ long-standing agricultural trade with the Jewish state.

“The Israel government has been a long-time partner of the DA in various initiatives particularly in water management and fertilization, and so we hope for the immediate resolution of the conflict in the Middle East,” DA spokesman Arnel V. de Mesa said in a statement.

He said Israel purchases desiccated coconut, pineapple juice and concentrates, and other mixtures from local producers. “Part of the trading agreement between the Philippines and Israel is the importation of different processed products, including orange and grape juice, as well as other fructose,” he added.

Mr. De Mesa said that both countries have also been closely collaborating on various initiatives in improving local food production.

“Fertigation, an Israeli-technology which combines the efficient distribution of plant nutrients through drip irrigation, has been adapted in various rice areas in the Philippines,” the DA statement read.

Local farmers have already been practicing fertigation as the method enables them to apply the precise amount of nutrients in their crops while conserving water, explained Mr. De Mesa.

From January to October, a total of 4,555 metric tons of muriate of potash have been imported, according data to the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority. — Adrian H. Halili