United Press International (UPI)
February 13, 2013 - 1:00am

More than 50 Palestinian farmers attended a conference in southern Israel aimed at supporting Gaza's agricultural sector, the Israeli army said.

Last month's conference introduced participants to new technologies and developments that will enter the market this year, Lt. Col. Avi Shalev, head of the Economic Branch of the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration said.

The meeting is an indication of the growing agricultural cooperation between the CLA and the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, he said.

It is the third consecutive year Palestinian farmers participated in the conference, which is aimed at strengthening ties with the Israeli market and boosting crop production and exports.

"Agriculture knows no borders," Uri Madar of the agricultural department of the District Coordination Office told Ynetnews.com. "There are various parasites that can jump the border, so there is a clear mutual interest here," he said.

Strong agriculture in Gaza, capable of coping with pests and diseases, also protects the Israeli-side of the border, Shalev said.

"We will continue to put effort into preserving the agricultural relations, despite Hamas efforts to damage the connections," Shalev said.

Both sides are interested in maintaining contact.

"We are careful to separate between terror targets in the [Gaza] Strip and the productive civilian sphere – which is important to preserve," he said.


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