Julie Webb-Pullman reports

Gaza Olive, Date Harvests Underway

The Minister of Agriculture Ali Al-Tarashawi today joined Gazawi farmers on the ladders in the olive groves, to help with the first day of this year’s harvest.

The first stop was an olive grove in Bureij, where a band of young men welcomed the guests, a group of women baked bread in the traditional way, and young girls sang beneath the trees as the workers harvested the crop.

Minister Al-Tarashawi described the first day of the harvest as a very positive day, as olives are a vital food for Gaza, providing essential nutrients. “We are looking forward to increasing olive production even further,” he said, noting that this tree helps with the steadfastness of the farmers, and of the population.

“We need self-sufficiency in vegetables and olives and dates, and we also look forward to achieving this in other primary crops,” he added.

“I use this occasion to call on all free people of the world to ensure procedures are in place to stop violations against these trees in the West Bank,” he said, before leaving for Deir al Balah, to view the date harvest.

Dates are also a strategic crop, providing vital nutritional needs for the population. Nothing is wasted – apart from harvesting the fruit, the fronds are used for baskets, sun-shades and roofs. Date palms are especially valuable because they have a long life, tolerate salinity, and do not require much water. However, the humidity in Gaza presents problems for storage, and increased production is creating a need for more storage facilities.

Next was a trip to the Modern Wusta Press, where the first of the olives had arrived for pressing, and were on their way through the washer. The Modern Wusta Press is also in its first season, having been built to cope with the demand created by increased production.

Next it was into the press

And out the other side – the most delicious – and freshest – olive oil I have ever tasted!

Congratulations to Wusta Press manager Abdul Nasser AlMikawi and his colleagues for a job well done!!

8 responses

  1. Lainey

    So evocative- I can practically smell the olive oil.

    October 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm

  2. EngAmani

    Great job, darling Julie

    October 17, 2012 at 6:47 am

  3. Pingback: GPJA #444 (Part 1): News from Aotearoa New Zealand – 24/10/12 « GPJA's Blog

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