Israelis training Palestinian avocado farmers

In an effort to boost trade in the Palestinian territories, an Israeli agricultural institute has been training Palestinian farmers to improve their harvest of the internationally popular avocado pear.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has described the collaboration between the Galilee International Management Institute (GIMI) and a group of Palestinian agronomists and agricultural engineers as a “unique cooperation” that promotes coexistence.

GIMI, which creates and offers capacity building training courses for professionals all over the world, has been working with Arabs for 30 years. Indeed, during heightened tensions over the Temple Mount this summer, GIMI was running a course for Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli olive oil producers as well as starting a tele-course for computer engineers in Gaza. The course was designed to give Gazans future access to remote employment with Israeli companies.

Among other such projects, GIMI has been training Palestinians in growing avocados for export.

“We thought we should encourage Palestinians to grow avocados based on the excellent Israeli experience,” GIMI President Joseph Shevel told Israel21c. “We know there is a problem of exporting agricultural goods from the West Bank to Europe and we hope to help find a way.”

Israel is already internationally renowned for its export of avocado — a healthy, tasty fruit that has been described as “green gold.” Because the fruit is in great demand, the GIMI institute thought it would be especially beneficial for Palestinians to join in its farming and trade.

The training course was funded by the EU and the Israeli Foreign Ministry. It was created for Palestinian agricultural extension officers who would then train local farmers.

“We have many alumni in the West Bank so once we announced the program they helped us spread the word, and 28 people registered,” Shevel said.

Following the course, GIMI was set to follow up the trainees and assist with planting avocados and getting them ready for export to Europe.