(Communicated by COGAT – Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories)
In preparation for the beginning of the next flower export season, a meeting was held at the Gaza District Coordination and Liaison Office (DCL), between the DCL Agriculture Coordinator, heads of agricultural associations in Gaza, and the projects manager from the Netherlands mission in Ramallah. Palestinian farmers were given the opportunity to raise ideas, conclusions and requests prior to the start of the season. "The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories supports agricultural export and will assist as much as possible in promoting agricultural crops", said Agriculture Coordinator at the DCL, Mr. Uri Madar. "Everything will be done to facilitate exports."
At the meeting, the new export development program initiated by the Dutch government was presented. Until now, since 2006, the Dutch government provided two different assistance programs for the farmers in Gaza, which will be consolidated into one large development program. "The major difference is that now all elements of cultivating crops and all export processes will be the sole responsibility of the Palestinian firms," said the Dutch representative. "Continued activity for the next 3-4 years depends on the development of Palestinian independence in cultivation and export." Thus, rather than providing training and guidance for the farmers, the the main purpose of the new program is the gradual reduction of assistance until the attainment of economic independence in 2016.
During the previous export season, over 450 tons of strawberries, 250 tons of tomatoes, 50 tons of pepper and 9,000,000 flower units were exported. The next export season is due to begin in November.