Summer Viruses Responsible for Cucumber Price Jump

Fresh cucumbers in the Machaneh Yehudah Market. (Oren Fixler/Flash90)

Cucumber prices have shot up in the past several days, with the wholesale price exceeding seven shekels a kilo, the Agricultural Ministry said. Just last week, the wholesale price for the vegetable was NIS 4.5 per kilo – 60-percent less than the current price.

The reason for the price jump is due to a shortage of cucumbers – caused by several viruses that affected the summer crop. A similar situation last year led to a 50-percent drop in the availability of the vegetable in the market. In the past, shortages in the Israeli market were compensated for by imports from Jordan and Gaza, but the same plague has affected cucumbers in those regions as well.

There is good news, however. The full impact of the shortage has not yet been felt in the markets, as stores have been keeping the retail price down, selling cucumbers as a loss leader to bring customers into the store. A new – and healthy – crop of the vegetable is expected to be harvested in the coming weeks, a development that should bring wholesale prices back down to a more normal range, Ministry officials said.