The agricultural sector is fairly small, accounting for 3.5 percent of the GDP in 2000 and employing 2.6 percent of the labor force . Nonetheless, Israel is largely self-sufficient in foodstuffs lacking only in grains, oils, and fats. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the
A special feature of Israel's agriculture that has gained a great deal of international attention is its cooperative settlements. For centuries, Jews in the Diaspora were barred from owning land; therefore, the Zionist movement saw land settlement as one of the chief objectives of Jewish colonization. There are 2 basic forms of settlements, the moshav and the kibbutz, both developed to meet the needs and challenges encountered by a farming community new to its professions and its sometimes hostile surroundings. The moshav works on the principal of a co-operative with individual farms of equal size with every farmer working his own land to the best of his ability. The farmer's economic and social security is ensured by the cooperative structure of the village which handles marketing his products, purchasing farm equipment, and providing credit and other services. In 1998, a total of 455 moshavim existed, inhabited by 180,000 people. The kibbutz is a collective settlement of a unique form, based on common ownership of resources and the pooling of labor, income, and expenditure. Every member is to work to the best of his ability. He is not paid any wage but is supplied with all the goods and services he needs. The kibbutz is, therefore, based on voluntary action and mutual liability, equal rights for all members, and it assumes for them full material responsibility. In 1998, the 268 kibbutzim were inhabited by around 120,000 people.