Farming remains an important base for the Palestinian society and economy, as many Palestinians in the OPT are dependent on basic food aid provided by the United Nations and on farming families who have been able to retain land. Palestinian farmers are unable either to deliver products to the external markets outside their own communities, or to sell their products above the cost price within their local communities.
The solution is aimed to reduce vulnerability of local communities through enhancing food security and building local capacities, including rural women. The idea was born in 2010 when a group of farmers gathered to market the village's olive oil. The Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA has developed the solution and partnered with the MA`AN Development Centre, a local Palestinian agency working in two rural areas - the Tulkarem area in the northern West Bank, and Khan Younis area in the southern Gaza Strip to implement it with the support of the Australian Government (AusAID).
Kufr Abboush one of the targeted 7 villages, which have been identified as the areas of extreme poverty and food insecurity, and have suffered from the conflict-related damage to infrastructure and associated social impacts, and loss of land and livelihoods. Kufr Abboush was among the most productive olive oil-producers in villages in the northern part of the West Bank, producing more than 150 tons of olive oil on the area of more than 10,000 dunams (dunam is a unit of area measure used in the Middle East to measure land, 1 acre = 4.046 dunums ), but the whole village was not producing a single kilogram of organic and extra-virgin olive oil. Farmers needed to ensure better quality of products to sell at a high price and maximize profits.
One cooperative started its activities with ten farmers and now has 22 farmers, including six active women members. The cooperative members enhanced their capacity through:
- Trainings on better harvesting and storage techniques for the olive oil;
- Trainings on new organic methods to fight the olive fly and ein attawous (leaf disease) infection which affects the quality and quantity of the olive oil; and
- Composting and environmental workshops.
In a short time, the cooperative has made tremendous advances, the outcome of the solutions enabled the farmers to produce more than 10 tons of the extra-virgin and organic olive oil last year, and bigger amount is expected in 2015.
The solution constituted on collective efforts and support in addressing the cooperative members` needs. To be more efficient and effective the cooperative organizes olive-harvesting in groups of 60-65 farmers (members of the cooperative including other farmers from neighboring villages). The cooperative supports local rural livelihoods not only through trainings but also through identifying the current and future needs and problems of farmers.. For example, the farmers are keen to buy olive presses and packaging machines to process the olive oil locally and to market and export it.
Budget: US$ 10,000 per one cooperative.
Mr. Ahmad Bushnaq, Head of the new Kufr Abboush Cooperative
Tel : +970 2 2418999
Fax : +970 2 2418998
Mobile : +970 59979396