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Palestinian Olive Oil
Palestinian Olive Oil
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Brief History of Palestinian Olive Oil
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The Palestinian farmers are faced with grave conditions caused by occupation policy of Israel. Their land is taken and water is strictly limited. ATJ imports olive oil hoping to seek peace together.

Though it is less known in Japan, Palestine has produced olive for a few thousands years. Olive oil gained by extracting the fruit has been inherited among people as a necessity article of living like miso or soy source for Japanese. Today, olive oil is a major farm product, supporting the living of around 70,000 households.
According to the statistics in 2002, the olive field is about 0.44 million hectare in total, which produces around 150,000 tons of olive oil per year. Domestic consumption of olive oil is around 12,500 tons. Thus, the country has a surplus of 23,300 tons of olive oil. The surplus has been caused by the fact that exports to other Arab countries decreased drastically after the Gulf War and now 80% of export of olive oil depends on Israel.

Furthermore, ratio of agriculture in GDP dropped from 37% in late 1960s to 7% at present. Occupation by Israel has destructed agriculture in Palestine. Farmers' land is taken away and use of water is strictly limited. Thus, it is quite difficult for farmers to continue farming. Since the second "intifada" in September, 2000, hundreds of wells have been destructed and thousands of Olive trees have been uprooted by either Israeli army or settlers.

Apartheid Wall
As the map shows, separation (apartheid) wall of 200 kilometers is now being built by Israel. While Israel claims that it should be built for "security", the wall has crossed the cease-fire line agreed in 1967 and encroached the self-governing territory of Palestine. Private houses as well as olive orchard are bulldozed for construction of the wall. The wall is made of concrete, barbed wire or trench, which obstructs people to move. In fact, some farmers cannot enter their own farms because the land is separated by the wall and traffic is severely restricted. Construction of the wall is still going on with expected length is 700 kilometers.
To counter the development, some NGOs in Palestine buy Olive oil from farmers for sale. They support local communities aiming to reconstruct farming through technical training and human development. At present, ATJ imports Olive oil through the following two NGOs in Palestine.

Palestine Agricultural Reconstruction Committee (PARC)
PARC was established in 1983 for reconstruction of agriculture in Palestine. It is operated with 130 staff members as well as 6000 volunteers. Headquarters are based in Ramallah with 14 local chapters. Main activities include support for rural women, organizing farmers, production and sale of farm and livestock products. (As of 2003, the organization collected Olive oil from 950 farmers of 32 villages.)

UAWC (Center for Rural Development in Palestine)
UAWC was established in 1986 based in Ramallah along with local chapters in Gaza, Hebron and Jerusalem. Like PARC, 65 staff members and 50 volunteers are working for reconstruction of agriculture in Palestine. (In 2003, UAWC collected Olive oil from 300 farmers.)

Basic Statistics of Palestine
Total Population 9.3 million (2002)
Refugees 3.87 million (2001)
Area West Bank 5,800 kF、Gaza 365kF

Brief Data