Founded in 2004, Zaytoun is a Community Interest Company working to develop a UK market for artisan Palestinian produce. The ‘Medjoul’ is the finest of dates. It is grown in the Jericho area which has the perfect climate for producing these delicious, soft and succulent dates. They are sourced through the ‘Palm Farmers Cooperative’ and are a vital source of income in this area which is seeing vast tracts of land illegally confiscated by Israel.
Approximately 25p from every purchase of a Zaytoun product will be donated to their Trees for Life initiative (see below).
We source from Al Nakheel, who gather dates from farmers across 300 hectares of land in the Jordan Valley. Al Nakheel company’s dates come from 12,000 palm trees spread across 3,000 dunums (300 hectares) of land in the Jordan Valley.
Zuhair Manasreh, founding partner and CEO explains “Palestinian investment in dates is the right choice for the Jordan Valley right now. There is a lot of agricultural land in the Jordan Valley that has been abandoned by Palestinian farmers because they can’t access water. When land lays fallow, it can easily be confiscated by settlement farms, which have the deep wells and the water subsidies to cultivate it.”
Founded on principles of social responsibility, the company aims to unleash Palestine’s agricultural potential while providing stable, sustainable, and well- paid alternatives to settlement labour. With gender- sensitive policies and workspaces and an emphasis on providing jobs locally for women, the company currently employees forty full-time and eighty seasonal workers. Despite solid Palestinian investors, a sound business plan, and a strategic vision, the company is still held back by the occupation. With its supplier farms spread across land that falls in Areas B and C, and receiving little to no investment, the company has had to build their own farmers’ roads. They have also had to install their own electrical grid to power workstations and mechanise irrigation.
Featured farmer: Ahmed Saied Maahry (Abu Saied) - Al-Jeftlik village, Jericho Valley, Palestine
Abu Saied is a 46-yearold father of six whose income is based on farming crops including dates and vegetables, on 27 dunums of land inherited from his family who have cultivated it for generations. About 15 years ago he began to grow date palms and now has around 45 trees.
''Our coming generation needs us to build for them sustainable farming and markets. Fair trade can be a good opportunity for us'' he said.
Abu Saied tells us that the Jordan Valley has a growing agricultural sector and that the area needs to be protected and supported by ethical businesses. He sees fair trade as the only way to improve the livelihood of the farmers in the Jordan Valley, to empower them to remain on their lands and confront the evictions imposed by the Israeli Occupation forces.
Trees for Life - Palestine Fair Trade Association’s olive tree planting project.
Raw Living is pleased to support this initiative. Since we started stocking Zaytoun's Palestinian products iun August 2015 we have donated 5 trees (olive tree saplings - 3 years old).
It is with regret that we are unable to share with you more information about this product. Various EU legislation forbids us (and all other food business operators) from claiming that these products can offer any possible health benefits. Many of our customers already know about these foods, and come back to us time and time again for their favourite items. We ask customers new and old to do your own research, and to trust Raw Living to provide you and your nearest and dearest with the best quality products at the lowest prices. Thank you for your understanding.
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