Fair trade for Palestinians

A local Palestinian businessman has brought fair trade to the West Bank, buying olive oil and other produce from more than 1,500 West Bank farmers and guaranteeing them a higher price.

Daniella Cheslow
Canaan Fair Trade’s Palestinian-grown olive oil.

• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

When Nasser Abufarha looked for new products from Palestinian soil, he turned to old memories of his grandfather munching on dried figs dragged through sesame paste.

The result is a nutty fig-sesame spread. It is the latest offering from Canaan Fair Trade, which in six years has grown to be a $10 million empire and the largest Palestinian olive oil exporter to Europe and North America. Mr. Abufarha, founder and director, buys oil and produce such as almonds, tomatoes, and thyme from more than 1,500 West Bank farmers. The growers are fair-trade certified and nearly all organic. In exchange, Abufarha guarantees a higher market price.

“We build hope among farmers who know that people care about them and respect the product of their sweat,” Abufarha said.

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