Israelis shared their agricultural expertise with Palestinian farmers seeking to improve their avocado crops.
A group of Palestinian agronomists and agricultural engineers recently completed training in avocado cultivation at the Galilee International Management Institute (GIMI) in Nahalal, northern Israel.
The avocado was chosen because of the ever-increasing global demand for the vegetable, which is considered “green gold.”
The purpose of the training was to improve the Palestinians’ avocado crop. Participants toured the avocado plantations in the north and met with Israeli avocado farmers.
The Palestinians came from the areas of Hebron, Qalqiliya, Tubas and Jenin, and some already grow avocados for export to Arab countries.
During the training, the Palestinians expressed a desire to cooperate with Israeli growers to enable the export of “Palestinian avocados” to Europe. Israel avocado exports to Europe have grown to roughly 100,000 tons in recent years, comprising about a third of the winter avocado market in European Union countries.
About 40 percent of the participants were women, most of them agricultural entrepreneurs with a particular interest in avocado growing.
Prof. Yair Hirshfeld, one of the initiators of the Oslo Peace Accords, lectured during the program on possibilities for cooperation in agriculture and their implications for the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.
The program was sponsored via combined funding from The Middle East and the Peace Process Department at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, in cooperation with the European Union through the agency of Economic Cooperation Foundation and GIMI.