Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres and Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon have established a team to discuss the planting of 4 million olive trees with Jordan and the Palestinian Authority for the production of oil. According to the plan, which was initiated by Peres, the oil will be marketed under a joint brand to the two countries and the PA.The saplings will be planted mainly in existing olive groves. Peres will raise financing for the project from international sources, and Simhon will supervise implementation. At Simhon's request, the Jewish National Fund will participate, supplying olive saplings and preparing land for planting.It was also agreed in the meeting that Israel and the PA would cooperate in spraying against the olive fly, a pest which causes millions in damages annually and hurts profitability in the sector. Damages caused by the fly are particularly extensive in the PA, estimated at NIS 100 million.At an olive oil and wine industry exhibition recently in Verona, Israel and the PA set up a joint stall which enjoyed wide coverage in the Italian press.
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