Palestinian Farmer Talks Israeli Occupation

A Palestinian farmer has told people in Cardiff about the challenges of farming under Israeli occupation. He was in Wales with Zaytoun which is a fairtrade company that sells Palestinian produce in the UK.

Zaytoun has been holding talks and tastings with Mr. Hamada around the country as part of this year’s fairtrade fortnight.

Olive oil and Israeli occupation – these were the themes of Mohammad Hamada’s talk. The Palestinian farmer had Zaytoun Manager Manal Ramadan as his translator. He claims that Israeli settlers impede farming in every way they can – uprooting trees, burning groves, attacking farmers during harvest. Their access to water is severely limited, and wells cannot be dug without permission from Israeli authorities.

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Destroyed trees in Palestine. Source: sustainablefoodtrust.org

Manal Ramadan says that the various Israeli checkpoints that pop up around Palestine increase the price of transportation, and hence, of Zaytoun products.

Zaytoun help farmers whose life can be difficult under Israeli occupation. They have a special scheme for those whose trees have been uprooted or groves burned.

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Mohammed Hamada – Palestinian farmer. Picture: Suryatapa Mukherjee

Before fairtrade, they say farmers would sell their produce below the cost of production if they would sell at all. Now, Palestinian farmers get a premium to invest in their community. Ms Ramadan says that although they cannot help farmers in terms of the occupation, they have helped improve their livelihood.

The objective of the Fairtrade Foundation is to ensure that farmers get a fair price for their products. Fairtrade fortnight focused on the troubles facing farmers around the world.

Originally published on Cardiff News Plus: http://jomec.co.uk/cjsnewsmaij/news/palestinian-farmer-talks-about-israeli-occupation 

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