Civil Administration promotes export of cucumbers from Jenin

60-65 percent of cucumbers consumed in Israel are grown in the Jenin

Date: 09/06/2011, 1:27 PM     Author: Tamara Shavit

Fact: 60-65 percent of cucumbers consumed in Israel are grown in the Jenin area of the West Bank. Nearly 17,000 tons of cucumbers are harvested in Northern Samaria and delivered to Israel, providing economic sustenance for close to 3,000 families in Jenin.

The cucumbers are picked during the day and delivered to Israel in the evening. If you wait, explains cucumber grower Adnan Abu-Ali, the cucumbers lose weight during the night. A truck carrying 15,000 kilos of cucumbers would overnight become a truck carrying 14,500 kilos - representing a loss of 1,500 shekels.

The Gilboa Crossing between Israel and the northern West Bank usually operates from 8 a.m. in the morning to 5 p.m. in the evening. But recently (and in the weeks ahead), the crossing has remained open as the sun sets for the transfer of cucumbers. 250-300 tons pass over the course of three hours. If additional time is needed, there is no limit.

"It's a good pace," said Abu-Ali. "And if difficulties arise, there is someone to talk to. This assistance is critical. There are 3,000 families that make a living from cucumber season. For most of them, these six weeks carry them for the entire year."

"It's suitable land, a suitable climate, it's a benefit to everyone and it has already become a tradition," explains Samir Muadi, the Civil Administration's Agricultural Coordinator. "For decades, cucumbers have streamed into Israel and in the past six to seven years the trend has increased. Since there is a fence, and Palestinian farmers work less and less in Israeli territory, cucumber growth has become almost the entire Palestinian economy."

Muadi said that one of the missions of the Civil Administration is to care for and develop the Palestinian economy.

"This is a mission that serves the two sides," Muadi said. "The more we support [the Palestinians], the quiet remains. People who work and make a living with dignity don't turn to terror. "

Muadi added that another mission of the Civil Administration is to protect public health, both among Israelis and Palestinians. He said that all produce imported to Israel is inspected by agronomists.