Charities to Plant 25,000 Olive Trees in Palestine

The trees will be planted across the West Bank in an effort to replace some of those that were destroyed by conflict and help boost the state’s economy.
Mar. 2, 2022
Ephantus Mukundi

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Human Appeal, a British char­ity, has part­nered with two Palestinian non-gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions (NGOs) to plant 25,000 olive trees in the state.

Their goal is to help revive Palestine’s olive indus­try fol­low­ing years of con­flict that have resulted in the destruc­tion of many olive groves.

Planting these olive saplings is more than secur­ing land for agri­cul­ture and sup­ply­ing a crop that will help these recip­i­ents to sup­port them­selves into the future. It’s also an impor­tant sym­bol of regrowth for the region.- Mohamad Yousef, Arab News France

The project is expected to cover 200,000 square meters and ben­e­fit farms through­out the West Bank. The project is expected to help 200 farm­ers and result in about four tons of olive oil pro­duc­tion annu­ally.

Despite recent con­flict and cli­matic extremes, the International Olive Council esti­mated that Palestine pro­duced 27,000 tons of olive oil in the 2021/22 crop year, 17 per­cent above the rolling five-year aver­age.

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Currently, there are more than nine mil­lion olive trees in Palestine, and about 80 per­cent of the olive groves are more than a cen­tury old.

Olive trees hold a spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance in Palestinian cul­ture as they have crit­i­cal eco­nomic, social and national sig­nif­i­cance.

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In addi­tion, olive trees are ideal crops for this region due to their abil­ity to with­stand extreme heat, drought, and poor soils com­pared to other crops.

The olive tree car­ries great sym­bolic impor­tance for the his­tory of Palestinian agri­cul­ture, being syn­ony­mous with Palestine for gen­er­a­tions across the Middle East,” Mohamad Yousef, head of Human Appeal France, told Arab News.

Olive trees in this part of the world are among the old­est to be found, with some of them over 1,000 years old,” he added.

Olive pro­duc­tion pro­vides income for about 100,000 Palestinian fam­i­lies and cre­ates 25 per­cent of income earned from the agri­cul­tural sec­tor. Almost half of the arable land in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is planted with olive trees.

According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, olive oil is the sec­ond-largest Palestinian export after trop­i­cal fruit and brought in €17.1 mil­lion in 2019, the last year for which data are avail­able.

When seek­ing to pro­vide urgently needed sup­port, it’s vital that we also con­sider pro­vid­ing long-term sup­port to help the pop­u­la­tion help them­selves,” Yousef said.

Planting these olive saplings is more than secur­ing land for agri­cul­ture and sup­ply­ing a crop that will help these recip­i­ents to sup­port them­selves into the future,” he added. It’s also an impor­tant sym­bol of regrowth for the region.”



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