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Source: World Food Programme (WFP)
23 April 2004

Olive-oil farmers find new market through USAID-sponsored project

More than 1,800 West Bank farmers who were unable to sell their olive oil due to movement restrictions and closures have found a new buyer in the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). In April, the group used $1 million donated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to purchase 302 metric tons of the oil. In turn, WFP donated the product to needy families in Gaza and the southern West Bank.

Working with the Ministry of Agriculture, WFP selected farmers from Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarm, Salfeet and Qalqilya who had large families and lived under the poverty line of 25 Israeli shekels a day (about $5.50). Farmers were required to submit their olive oil for quality tests before WFP purchased it. Each farmer received 2,080 shekels ($458) for 160 kilograms of oil, or about 40 gallons.

During a recent site visit, USAID representatives met several Nablus farmers who had sold their olive oil to WFP. Thanking USAID for its support, the farmers related that the tight closures and curfews in and around Nablus and the poor economic situation had wiped out their regular markets for oil.

USAID administers the U.S. foreign assistance program, which gives economic and humanitarian aid to more than 100 countries worldwide. Since 1993, USAID has provided more than $1.3 billion in assistance to Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.

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