After three-years of continuous 50% accumulated rise of food export from Israel, the first quarter of 2006 has seen a 1.3% decline in food export to US$175.8m, according to Roni Kobrovsky, chairman of the food industries division at the Israel Manufacturers Association and president of the Central Bottling Company (Coca Cola Israel).

Food processors in Israel are "worried and apprehensive" in view of the 25.4% deficit in the food trade, which amounted to $139.8m in Q1. Food imports in the quarter were up 5.1% to $302m.

Kobrovsky added that during the quarter there has been a decline of 28% in meat and poultry exports, confectionery was down 28%, and chocolate was down 25%. However, the export of processed fruits and vegetables was up 12% to $54.8m compared with the same period last year.