This year, Zaytoun celebrates ten years since our launch of the world’s first ever Fairtrade olive oil from Palestine, and fifteen years since the foundation of our company. Our mission has remained the same throughout those years. Through our social enterprise, we work to provide a sustainable income to Palestinian farmers and their families by creating a market for their high-quality, fairly traded products.
Small farmers everywhere often struggle to make ends meet, but Palestinian farmers struggle more than most – with 60% of the West Bank under full Israeli control and an estimated 400,000 illegal Israeli settlers having built on Palestinian land. Obstacles to trade include the arbitrary closure and theft of large tracts of fertile land and water sources, highly restricted access to farmland throughout the year and restrictions on the movement of people and goods within the country and across its borders.
“[The Israeli occupation of Palestine has] set in motion a continuous process of de-agriculturalisation and deindustrialisation, thereby depriving the Palestinian people of their ability to produce and cultivating dependence on aid and on Israel’s economy” - A 2016 UN Report
Set against an economic growth rate that is steadily falling, and unemployment that is rising, this deprivation of a source of revenue and employment is significant.