Impact of Israel-Hamas Conflict on Food Prices Deepens Food Insecurity, Reveals Report

by Ella

A recently published annual report by Leket Israel sheds light on the exacerbation of food insecurity among 1.4 million Israelis who struggle to afford healthy food, attributing the issue to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. The Food Waste and Rescue Report, released in collaboration with health and environmental protection ministries, points to the repercussions of the conflict on agriculture along the Gaza border and Israel’s northern border with Lebanon.

Leket Israel, an organization focused on rescuing and distributing surplus food to those in need, highlights the challenges in rescuing and distributing food to the vulnerable due to the damaged agricultural areas near conflict zones. The scarcity of locally produced agricultural goods, coupled with a doubling of imports since the conflict began, has resulted in a surge in prices, particularly affecting fresh fruits and vegetables.


The report emphasizes that the rise in prices worsens food insecurity, defined as the inability to maintain a consistent supply of nutritionally adequate food. According to the National Insurance Institute, 16.5% of households in 2022, translating to 1.4 million people or 14.5% of the total population, experienced food insecurity.


In 2022, approximately 2.6 million tons of food, valued at NIS 23.1 billion ($6.5 billion), were wasted in Israel, constituting around 37% of the total food produced. The report underscores the recurring calls for government intervention to develop policies aimed at salvaging the approximately half of wasted food deemed suitable for human consumption.


The conflict’s impact on agriculture is stark, with 20% of Israel’s agricultural land situated in the Gaza border area, including significant portions of vital crops like potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and cabbages. Additionally, 10% of agricultural land near the northern border with Lebanon, responsible for apple orchards, peach orchards, and poultry production, faces disruption.


The report notes that the conflict has led to a loss of around 40% of the agricultural workforce nationwide, totaling 30,000 people. Foreign workers returned home, and Palestinians are currently barred from entering the country, exacerbating the labor shortage.

The consequences of the conflict on food prices are evident, with significant increases reported for tomatoes, cucumbers, and potatoes. Ongoing challenges, such as a 30% predicted drop in tomato production, a 10% cucumber shortage, and a 20% decrease in cabbage production, signal a grim outlook for the coming winter.

The report concludes by warning that elevated food prices, coupled with economic damage and increased unemployment, will further escalate food insecurity among vulnerable populations. It advocates for intensified efforts to reduce food waste, emphasizing that reliance on imports does not address the core issue of food insecurity resulting from agricultural damage, often leading to sharp price increases.

In a noteworthy addition, the report estimates that 5% of the country’s health budget, amounting to NIS 5.2 billion ($1.5 billion), is spent on addressing health issues arising from inadequate nutrition. This revelation underscores the far-reaching health and economic implications of the deepening food insecurity crisis in the aftermath of the Israel-Hamas conflict.



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