Trees for Life Program

For a number of years Ethical Consumer has been a proud supporter of the Trees for Life programme co-ordinated by the Palestinian Fair Trade Association (PFTA).

With every new Ethical Consumer gift subscription, we make a donation to the program, providing an olive tree sapling for farmers in Palestine. 

The Trees for Life Committee targets young families, starter farmers, small farmers, women farmers and, farmers who have recently cultivated lands that have been impacted by the Israeli wall or have been subject to field or trees destruction by the Israeli military.

In 2018 more than 22,646 saplings have been distributed to over 257 farmers in 22 villages in the West Bank. This is up from 250 farmers in 2017 when around 14000 saplings were donated. The UK made the single largest donation to the scheme of over £29,135 through Zaytoun, the UK co-ordinating solidarity body. 

During the 2017-18 planting season, our gift subscriptions resulted in 223 organic saplings being distributed throughout the West Bank.

Why do we need the Trees for Life program? 

Over the last decade, some Palestinian farmers have been left with nothing as their crops have been demolished and their land taken for Israeli settlements. Young and small farmers have found it particularly difficult to establish and expand their land. 

planting an olive tree

The Trees for Life program helps to establish a relationship between Palestinian farmers and the fair trade movement. Grassroots solidarity organisations around the world have raised funds for the purchase of thousands of seedlings. Since the program started in 2016, the number of farmers participating has significantly grown from 129 in the first year, to 257 in 2018. A total of 3,154 farmers have benefited from the program over the years. 

Image: Mohamed

Report from Mohamed, a farmer in the West Bank

Mohamed Al Weshahi is a farmer from the village of Telfeet near Jenin. He has more than 510 productive olive trees on his land; Mohamed is considered a full-time real farmer. His family owns a large flock of goats and sheep, and every morning his wife and his mother do the milking of the animals. The milk is processed and produces a high quality traditional white cheese and yogurt which is sold every day directly to the people in the area and nearby villages.

Every day he brings his tools and visits his farm to do the daily agricultural practices such as weeding, pruning and ploughing. Since 2014 when he joined the Fair Trade program, Mohamed has been selling his organic certified olive oil through PFTA to Canaan Fair Trade company (CFT).

He believes that all Palestinian farmers, even the farmers who are not registered in the PFTA programs, benefit from fair trade; he says “simply every year CFT export large quantities of our olive oil to the international fair trade markets and so the farmers of the PFTA have a direct benefit from this because they market their production, and also this process gives better opportunities for the other farmers who are not registered in the PFTA to market their production in the local Palestinian market with better prices”.

This planting season Mohamed received 100 olive saplings from the PFTA after he applied to the Trees for Life program. He hopes these trees will start producing in the next couple of years which means increasing his income and also this will help in cementing his attachment to his land, while Israel tries to uproot this attachment in Palestine.