A Message from Fair Traders in Palestine

A Palestinian farmer approaches a checkpoint with his olive harvest.

18 August 2014

Fairtrade International has been in touch with Fair Trade organizations in Palestine to express concern at the distressing situation in Gaza which has left over a thousand dead and many thousands injured.

Canaan Fair Trade, a Fair Trade producer organization situated in the West Bank, describes what is happening to relatives and friends in Gaza as ‘heart-rending’. The farmers of Canaan Fair Trade cultivate olives on the West Bank – and like all Fairtrade farmer organizations throughout Palestine – they continue to be dramatically affected by the instability of the situation.

“There is little that we can do, however, other than move popular pressure towards an end to the violence and breaking the siege on the people of Gaza,” said a spokesperson for Canaan Fair Trade. “We just pray and hope that this dreadful cycle of violence will end soon and thank our international friends for your support and concern.”

Canaan works with over 1,700 farmers organized into 49 village-based cooperatives, which are members of the Palestine Fair Trade Association (PFTA). Recently, they introduced their Jerusalem Blend Olive Oil in Whole Foods Market in the US (without the international FAIRTRADE Mark at present). Products from the PFTA farmers are distributed in over 18 countries around the world.

“When the first Palestinian Fairtrade products were launched on the international market five years ago, producers told us that Fairtrade was helping them plant hope in Palestine,” says Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fairtrade International. “The production of olives and olive oil is a vital source of livelihood on the fragile and marginal Palestinian lands.”

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