Meet the artisans – Zaytoun
Zaytoun supports an olive tree planting project which is run by the Palestine Fair Trade Association (PFTA) and produces the organic, fair trade olive oil, dates, maftoul and freekeh which we sell in the shop. Through the PFTA farmers can apply to become growers. In order for their application to be successful they must show that they own land suitable for the number of trees applied for, and be ready to plant the trees on the day they are delivered. They must also demonstrate they have the capacity to care for and nurture the trees. Zaytoun give priority to farmers who have lost trees to Israeli destruction, farm small areas, are women landowners who are interested in farming as well as young landowners who have inherited land.
One such farmer is Mohammad Irsheid, a young man from a farming family who had been producing olive oil and receiving 10 shekels per kg (£1.70), after he joined the PFTA that year they were able to command a price of 18 shekels (£3.06) per kg which has made a huge difference for him and his family. In addition to the fair trade price, his co-operative also receive a Fairtrade premium which this year will go towards building a public bathroom and a large storage room for the village.
Once Mohammed’s family could see how much they were benefiting from the extra income generated by Fairtrade they started to invest more in their business and were able to rehabilitate existing land and purchase new land resulting in them being able to plant more olive trees, as well as branching out and planting almond trees too.
“Fairtrade has had a big impact on my life in all sorts of ways. First of all, I started receiving higher prices, and that made a huge difference to our family’s farming income, about 20,000 shekels (£3,400) difference per year. I stopped worrying about searching for local traders that would take my olive oil with conditions and at low prices. Now it all goes to one buyer and we get paid during the harvest instead of waiting months to sell all our produce. We are now our own masters …. In short, Fairtrade made farming viable for us as Palestinian farmers.” – Mohammed
Find out more about the The Harvest Trip run by Zaytoun. It takes place on October 21st to 28th. The trip has been running for 12 years. You have the opportunity to learn more about Palestine from local families and organisations. This is a trip which you can go on your own, or with a friend or partner. Contact Zaytoun to find out more – they’re very happy to chat to people on the phone before they book. Remember, the sooner you book, the cheaper the airfares to either Jordon or Tel Aviv.
Photographs courtesy of Zaytoun