The second edition of Olive Oil Without Borders, a project supported by USAID and the Near East Foundation to build economic cooperation in the olive oil sector between Israeli and Palestinian farmers and communities, was announced January 26 during a conference held in Kufr Rai, in West Bank, according to the the Palestine Olive Council.
The country director of Near East Foundation for the West Bank, Salah Abu Eisheh, and other personalities of the sector were present at the ceremony.
Olive oil production and trade is one of the main components of the local economy, as well as a part of local culture and tradition.
The project first was launched in 2005 with the aim of facilitating the sharing of technical experiences about cultivation, production and quality during workshops, conferences and similar events organized to remove barriers between the communities and start a new eve of friendship and cooperation through the olive oil of this ancient land.
The success of the project had a positive impact on the economy of 34 communities in Israel and West Bank, and the hope is to repeat such achievements in improving olive oil quality and incomes in both the communities.
So far the Near East Foundation has involved more than 3,000 Palestinian farmers in the project and improved their know-how in olive oil production, harvesting and post-harvesting operations. NEF also cares about the commercial issues and helps these small producers in presenting their products to the market to gain a fair price.
During the conference these aspects and other goals were mentioned. The Olive Oil Without Borders project is seen as an opportunity for this land long divided by a history of blood, wars and violence.