Netherlands Representative Office (NRO), Palestinian Territories

Dutch Representative welcomes resumption of exports from Gaza, including first shipment of strawberries

Yesterday a cash crops shipment of 4 truckloads has crossed Kerem shalom crossing carrying almost 9 tons of cherry tomatoes and 7 tons of strawberries. Sunday, 2 December, exports of cash crops from Gaza were resumed, when a shipment of 7 truckloads successfully passed the Kerem Shalom crossing. The trucks carried 12 tons of strawberries, which was the first shipment of strawberries this season, as well as 200 kg of chives and 300 kg of basil.

“I am very pleased to see that exports from Gaza have resumed. It is a vivid expression that the cease fire agreement has taken hold, and it means that the Gaza cash crops farmers can access the European markets again with their produce, says Dutch Representative to the Palestinian Authority, Birgitta Tazelaar.

She adds that “the Dutch government has good hope that after several years of exporting cash crops to Europe, the transfer of these goods to the West Bank will be allowed soon. We know that there is a clear demand for these crops in the West Bank, and it would make the Gaza cash crops sector significantly more profitable, allowing for economic growth and employment generation in the Gaza Strip. The Dutch government therefore encourages all Palestinian and Israeli stakeholders to do their utmost to make the transit of cash crops from Gaza to the West Bank a reality this season”.

Background

The Dutch government has been supporting the Gazan flower, strawberry and vegetables farmers since 2006. The financial support has been complemented by continuous diplomatic efforts, which helped to safeguard the cash crops sector, which in turn represents an important pillar for the Gaza Strip’s economic future.

For the current season, the Gaza export programme has provided the means to plant 123.5 dunums for carnations and new flower varieties, 350 dunums of strawberries, 80 dunums of vegetables (sweet peppers and cherry tomatoes) and 20 dunums of herbs. This is expected to yield a harvest for export of about 12 million stems of flowers (mainly carnations), 600 tons of strawberries and around 600 tons of vegetables.

 

Ramallah, 4 December 2012