Agriculture is the bread and butter of the Palestinian economy. Based on information obtained from the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics, agriculture directly employs about 14% of the population and 90% of the population indirectly. Olive oil, upon which some of the less advantaged communities depend and considered crucial for maintaining food security, contributes approximately $100 million annually. Other important agricultural produce, which form part of Palestine’s rich culinary tradition, include grapes, figs, almonds, tomatoes, dates and citrus fruits.
Volunteer Palestine offers a program entitled Olive Picking and Planting, which aims to provide assistance and protective civilian international presence for Palestinian families during the olive harvest. Through this program, volunteers will have the opportunity to develop a social, cultural, political, historical and religious understanding of the region, get a first-hand experience of life under occupation and share advocacy tools and ideas.
Over the years, fair trade and organic certifications were granted to almost 930 farmers living in the West Bank. Alongside these farmers, volunteers will be able to work on organic farms and practice the organic “Farm to Fork” processes in the region. Volunteers will also have the opportunity to participate in urban farming, greenhouse farming and rooftop gardens projects in refugee camps, all of which aim to promote self-sustainability self-sufficiency.