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Strawberries, fresh herbs and cherry tomatoes ready from mid November

Export capacity from Gaza expected same level as previous years

Despite damages and losses during the summer, farmers in Gaza planted their fields as they used to do in the past. From the middle of November production of strawberries (60 ha), fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes and sweet pepper (120 ha) is expected to be ready for export. Strawberries usually are available till March, whereas tomatoes and sweet peppers are on the market until April. Actual export greatly depends on prices in the destination markets. Fresh herbs (mainly Chives, Basil and Mint) can be produced and marketed all over the year.

Ready for the season with Global GAP
Palestinian growers have invested in cultivation and post harvest in the previous seasons to compete better in the international markets, according to the FAO. Especially in the Gaza Strip promising progress has been made. Within a program by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), all produce has been Global GAP certified, so the market can expect competitive quality. Local and Israeli marketing companies collaborate with the farmers and their cooperatives to export the produce through Israeli ports.

Fresh herbs highly potential
It was announced by the Israeli authorities that distribution of fresh products from Gaza to the West Bank will be possible this season. These new regulations may bring opportunities for Gazan strawberries on the West Bank. However, the situation is still unclear. Therefore Gaza’s main target is still the EU market. The available volumes of strawberries are about 120 tons/week, of tomatoes and sweet peppers about 400 tons/week. A fresh herbs program is scheduled of 30-35 tons for the whole season. But according to Nasser Samara, the manager of the FAO High Value Crops project, expansion is an easy option in terms of areas and cultivated varieties. He says “farmers are open and flexible to produce more on demand, so I highly recommend these fresh herbs for importers in Western Europe. West Bank farmers are already cultivating around 1,000 dunums [100 ha] of Global GAP certified fresh herbs, which are mainly destined to the European and North American markets. However, West Bank herb producers are looking forward to expand their markets in the EU countries by approaching new clients and offering new demanded varieties.”

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