On January 24, 2018, Dimensions Consulting completed a site visit to the Jenin governorate to talk to almond producers and wholesalers in the north of the West Bank. In Jenin, Dimensions held in-depth interviews with agricultural engineers and almonds’ cultivation experts to assess the extent to which the incomes of local, small-scale farmers can be boosted through almonds’ cultivation. Given significant growth in global demand for almonds in recent years, Palestinian farmers have increasingly shifted their production away from traditional crops such as olives towards higher-value products such as almonds.
Dimensions also undertook a site visit to the recently-rehabilitated Jenin Wastewater Treatment Facility. Almonds are notoriously thirsty and water resources are scarce – the irrigation of almond trees using treated wastewater is the best option for the future expansion of this sector. Dimensions also visited Canaan Fairtrade’s processing facility at Burqin, obtaining in-depth information about the sales’ potential of almonds in overseas markets and the successes that have been achieved by Canaan’s Fair-trade and Organic export labels in bringing Palestinian agricultural produce to high-value, Western markets.
This assignment falls under the remit of the “Enhancing Profits of Small-Scale Farmers through Better Market Connections” Project, implemented by Ma’an Development Center and partners as part of the “Australia Middle East NGO Cooperation Agreement Program Phase 3” (AMENCA 3). The Project’s purpose is to more effectively and profitably connect Palestinian farmers to markets, including almond cultivators. Dimensions is supporting Ma’an by undertaking a feasibility study for the plantation of an almonds’ farm in the Jenin governorate.