Zaytoun wins global award for outstanding work with Palestinian olive farmers


UK-based social enterprise Zaytoun won the Fairtrade Global Trader Award for its work enabling olive oil producers in Palestine to sell their oil internationally.

At an awards ceremony in Berlin this evening (3 March 2016) the UK-based social enterprise Zaytoun won the Fairtrade Global Trader Award for its “vision, courage and persistence” in enabling olive oil producers in Palestine to sell their oil internationally and overcome restrictions resulting from conflict in the region.

Manal Ramadan, from Zaytoun said: “Fairtrade has transformed the lives of over 2,500 olive farming families, guaranteeing them the sale of their entire crop at a fair price. Our challenge now is to grow the demand for the olive oil to enable thousands more families to join the movement and reap the benefits of this sustainable ethical trade model.”

Zaytoun, which delivered the world’s first Fairtrade certified olive oil, has been working with small-scale cooperatives in the Palestine since 2004, when the price of oil had plummeted and many farmers had no access to global markets. By selling through Fairtrade, thousands of farmers and their families were able to access sustainable, long term contracts and gain a higher price for their oil. Zaytoun also supports these communities in other ways, such as by planting trees and organising trips for international visitors.

Barbara Crowther, Fairtrade Foundation’s Director of Policy and Public Affairs said: “Our hearty congratulations to Zaytoun who thoroughly deserve this award for their vision, courage and persistence in overcoming multiple barriers to support better livelihoods for Palestinian farmers living under occupation. 

“In true social enterprise fashion, Zaytoun has stood by the farmers through both good times and difficult times, and they have also inspired thousands of people to create a virtuous trading web throughout the UK, distributing their delicious, peppery Fairtrade extra virgin olive oil and now almonds too through alternative routes. For the Palestinian farmers, the solidarity offered by Zaytoun and their customers means the world, and I’m delighted they have all received this international recognition.”

The second Fairtrade International Awards were announced at an event held jointly with Fairtrade Germany in Berlin at 9pm on 3 March 2016, with host German Actress Anke Engelke.

Read more on the Guardian Sustainable Business hub and how to stand up for Palestinian farmers by holding a breakfast event during Fairtrade Fortnight.

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Notes to Editors
Fairtrade Foundation’s Barbara Crowther visited Palestine in autumn 2015 with Patron Allegra McEvedy for the Olive Harvest. Fairtrade can offer journalists interviews, farmer case studies and photographs in relation to this visit. For more information contact Susannah Henty, Media and PR Manager, 020 7440 8597,

This Fairtrade Fortnight go along to one of Zaytoun’s events or hold your own Palestinian Fairtrade breakfast with this delicious recipe for Lemon and Mint Eggs by Fairtrade Foundation’s Patron Allegra McEvedy

About The Fairtrade Foundation

The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent certification body which licenses the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products which meet international Fairtrade standards. This independent consumer label appears on products to show that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal from trade. Today, more than 1.5 million people – farmers and workers – across more than 74 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.

Over 5,000 products have been licensed to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark in the UK including coffee, tea, herbal teas, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, bananas, grapes, pineapples, mangoes, avocados, apples, pears, plums, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, satsumas, clementines, mandarins, lychees, dried fruit, juices, smoothies, biscuits, cakes & snacks, honey, jams & preserves, chutney, rice, quinoa, herbs & spices, seeds, nuts, wines, ales, rum, confectionery, muesli, cereal bars, ice-cream, flowers, sports balls, sugar body scrub and cotton products including clothing, homeware, cotton wool, olive oil, gold, silver and platinum.

Awareness of the FAIRTRADE Mark continues to be high in 2014, at a level of 78%. Estimated retail sales of Fairtrade products in 2013 exceeded £1.7 billion.

About Zaytoun CIC

Zaytoun CIC began working with small-scale cooperatives in the Palestinian Territories in 2004 to help olive oil producers access markets and overcome restrictions resulting from the ongoing conflict in the region. Initially funded by hundreds of customers who put up payment in advance of receiving their oil, Zaytoun quickly established itself as a UK social enterprise and delivered the world's first Fairtrade certified olive oil in 2009. The Zaytoun product range now extends to a range of products from the West Bank and Gaza including almonds, dates and maftoul - large hand-rolled cous cous – and the commitment to facilitate an economic independence for Palestinians is ongoing. Zaytoun has a Palestinian director in the West Bank who encourages farmers to create strong cooperatives to enhance their businesses as well as their communities, and there is a continual drive to find agents who will help to transport the produce through border crossings to the export points. Zaytoun also organises olive harvest and tree planting tours to engage UK-based supporters of Fairtrade and help sustain the olive industry in the face of grove destruction.