10 May, 2018

Supporting Palestinian farmers through unique challenges

Fairtrade Olive Oil and Maftoul Producer Bassema Barahmeh
by Zaytoun

Meet Zaytoun. Founded in 2004 its aim was to create a market for fairly traded Palestinian produce and to reinvest profits back into supporting Palestinian producers.

In the run up to World Fair Trade Day on Saturday 12 May, we are celebrating some of the organisations who Stand For Fairness. Those who, like us at Fairtrade, want to see decent working conditions and a fairer deal for the people who grow the things that we use every day.

Unique challenges

Palestinian farmers face unique challenges including highly restricted access to their own land and water. Military incursions, illegal settlements, and the separation wall can make it difficult and dangerous for farmers to reach their crops to tend and harvest them. Water sources can also be cut off, and water delivered by truck is very expensive.

Struggling rural communities in Palestine have been aid recipients for decades, yet a new narrative is now offered by village cooperatives who sell their produce on Fairtrade terms. This provides a sustainable livelihood with dignity, and has put Palestine and its producers on the food map. The products they create are high quality, and the fruit of generations of inherited skill and wisdom. They carry a message about Palestinian heritage and Fairtrade.

Finding a sustainable, fair market for their produce means that traditional farming families no longer have to go to the cities to work as labourers. Neither do they run the risk of land being confiscated if they do not tend it. Instead they can stay on their land and farm it in the knowledge that their crops are guaranteed a fair price.

Fairtrade empowers farmers to plan a future for their families and to invest in the quality of their production. It enriches communities through supporting opportunities for engagement in decision-making and cooperative working.

My life has been transformed by Fairtrade. I have a say in my household and in my community.  It has given me independence and raised my morale.

Bassema Barahmeh

Board Member of the Palestine Fair Trade Association.

Bassema Barahmeh (pictured above and featured in the video) is a farmer, board member of the Palestine Fair Trade Association, village council member and mother of four. When she visited the UK during Fairtrade Fortnight, she explained how Fairtrade had benefited her through new opportunities to engage with her community; “My life has been transformed by Fairtrade. I have a say in my household and in my community.  It has given me independence and raised my morale".

In the lead up to World Fair Trade Day we are asking people to Stand For Fairness with us: Sign up to email to receive news of petitions, events and campaigns. Stand with us to ensure that the millions of people who grow the things we eat, drink and wear, have enough to feed and provide for their own families.

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