In an effort to address the dire socioeconomic conditions in the Palestinian territories, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) -- in collaboration with the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture -- will purchase 416 tons of olive oil, at a value of $1.3 million, from 2,600 selected poor Palestinian farmers.
The agency will then deliver the locally purchased olive oil to WFP beneficiaries living in Gaza and in the south of the West Bank who have limited access to oil due to its high cost and unavailability in markets.
“Many Palestinian farmers rely heavily on olive production for their livelihoods,” said WFP’s Country Director in the Territories, Jean-Luc Siblot. “By purchasing the oil directly from the farmers, we are able to assist the most vulnerable in the Palestinian Territories while simultaneously helping the local economy of the West Bank.”
Curfews and border closures, including restrictions on road access and movement within the West Bank, have had a serious impact on the economy of the territories; farmers often face difficulties tending their olive groves and selling the oil produced.
A similar purchase of oil by WFP last year enabled farmers to cover the costs of maintaining the olive groves, thereby securing this year’s crop and improving the livelihood of farm households. The project has made it possible for participating households to be financially self-sufficient under very difficult circumstances.
WFP aims to provide food aid to 530,000 Palestinians impoverished due to deteriorating security and economic conditions. In the past six months, the UN food aid agency has transported and distributed 24,000 metric tons of food, including wheat flour, sugar, vegetable oil and lentils. — (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )