COGAT hosts the first of several conferences, aiding Palestinian farmers and facilitating growing exports

Date: 09/09/2012, 7:10 PM     Author: Adam May

Last week, COGAT (the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories) hosted a conference for strawberry farmers at the Gaza DCO (District Coordination Liaison) near the Erez Crossing. With the harvest season approaching, COGAT intends to host several conferences for farmers growing various crops in the Gaza Strip.

The Gaza DCO invited 40 Palestinian farmers to meet with representatives from both the IDF (Zahal) and corporations who will be handling the upcoming exports. Palestinian farmers spoke with representatives of COGAT and the IDF (Zahal), discussing issues and challenges they faced in an effort to streamline the export process. Aimed at assisting Palestinians farmers, the conference also featured a daylong seminar where experts shared advice on exporting, growing and harvesting.

Mr. Uri Madar, the agricultural liaison of the Gaza DCO who organized the conference, spoke of agriculture in the Gaza Strip. “The land has several advantages that make it useful for micro-agriculture, including virgin soil and warm weather with little variation. COGAT pays special attention to food production and agriculture. Today we are discussing strawberries, but the knowledge and technology we share will help improve all areas of agriculture, including more basic crops such as tomatoes,” said Mr. Madar

Speakers at the conference included Mr. Nabil Ganaim, a renowned expert in cultivating strawberries, and representatives from a Dutch export company, which provided farmers with advice regarding target export markets in Europe. 

COGAT also facilitated the signing of a marketing agreement that will market Palestinian exports in Europe. “The contract markets to the highest quality companies in Europe. The companies believe in the Palestinian farmers and are confident in the quality of their crops,” said Mr. Madar.

“COGAT connects Palestinian farmers to companies that facilitate exports. All participants rely on the DCO,” added Mr. Madar. “There is a convergence of interests. It is the beautiful side of our relationship that we are able to help the farmers in Gaza.”

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) assists in matters of health, education, agriculture, and infrastructure on a daily basis.
 
COGAT is a unit within the IDF (Zahal) responsible for the transport of aid into both the Judea and Samaria region and the Gaza Strip. It works with the Coordination and Liaison Administration (CLA) of the Gaza Strip and the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria to facilitate the transfer of supplies including gas, building materials, electrical appliances, ceramic parts, hygienic products, wheat, and other foods.