Second Grape Market sheds light on farming industry and farmers’ suffering 

Bethlehem/ PNN/ Story by Monjed Jadou

The Second Grape Market, opened over the duration of four days in Al Khader town west of Bethlehem, represented an opportunity for Palestinian farmers to market their grape products at a time when they face problems marketing their land products for political and local reasons.

The second grape market was opened Via an initiative from Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in cooperation with the Municipality of Al Khader,  Agricultural Relief and the Office of the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture, with the aim of helping farmers market their products.

Palestinian farmers said that the biggest challenges they are facing are settlements and occupation, which seek to prevent them from reaching their lands, in addition to their losses due to imported grapes from Israel that affect prices.

They also added that they were unable to exhibit their [products in different cities, such as Bethlehem city, Ramallah, especially in light of the Corona pandemic.

The farmers expressed their thanks and appreciation to those in charge of the market, noting that the market succeeded in marketing the products despite the difficult conditions they suffer from.

According to the organizers, the market has succeeded in helping farmers sell nine tons of grapes produced by farmers in the village of Al Khader, in addition to the fact that it participated in concluding deals between vegetable traders and farmers directly.

Mayor of Al-Khader, Ahmad Salah welcomed the attendees, stressing that this market conveys several messages of support to the farmers, who are constantly suffering from Israeli settlement and bypass roads, as most of the town’s lands lie behind these areas, indicating that the town of Al Khader produces a third of the national product of grape products in Palestine.

Dr. Samir Hazboun, head of the Bethlehem Governorate Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told PNN that this event is on the occasion of organizing the second market for marketing grapes of all kinds.

Hazboun thanked all farmers for their steadfastness in their land, explaining that he had benefited a lot from his cooperation with farmers, stressing the importance of teamwork for the development of agricultural work.

Hazboun invited all citizens of Bethlehem to visit the market in the open area, where safety means from COVID 19 were provided with an emphasis on the importance of buying agricultural products in order to support farmers, stressing that this market is the second experience that we go through in an attempt to strive to support farmers and enhance their steadfastness.

For his part, Ziad Salah, Director of Palestinian Agricultural Relief Center in Bethlehem Governorate,  explained that PARC is working to serve farmers in other areas, such as helping them distribute and market their products, explaining that he hopes citizens of Bethlehem will come and buy their products because this is part of supporting farmers who are suffering greatly due to the occupation and other measures.

Eng. Magdy Amr Director  Agriculture Ministry office in Bethlehem Governorate said “we, as organizers, hope that the market will succeed in helping farmers market their products, calling on citizens to visit the market and support them by purchasing products.”