It is very exciting to be able to support a project we are so
directly linked to. Zaytoun (Arabic for Olives) is a UK-based
not for profit project, established in 2004, to import olive oil
from Palestinian farmers at fair trade prices, and the end product
has been sold at Unicorn since 2005.
The Israeli occupation has devastated the Palestinian
economy, including the olive oil-dominated agricultural sector
which supports over 65% of the Palestinian people. While 75% of
Palestinians now live in poverty, over half of the olive oil produced
in Palestine is currently thrown away due to the restrictions
imposed by the Isreali occupation of the land, and a lack of access
to international markets. Olive
trees are grown on over 80% of the cultivated land in theWest
Bank and Gaza Strip, but farmers bringing in theharvest face severe
difficulties arising from military closure of the land and violence
from illegal settlers. Even so, Palestinians continue to harvest
their crops, as otherwise under Israeli law unfarmed land is confiscated
by the state.
Zaytoun works in partnership with Al-Zaytouna, a Palestinian
NGO (non governmental organisation), to build cooperatives for
marginalized farmers, reducing costs of production and strengthening
farmers in numbers. We have been able to donate £3,000 towards
training members of these new co-operatives, and hope to be able
to help further in the future.