The Palestinian agriculture ministry in Gaza expects olive and olive oil imports to fall this year due a bumper olive season, QudsNet news reported on Monday. The crop has been put down to the plentiful rain last winter, as well as the fact that thousands of new olive trees have been planted across the Gaza Strip.
However, as part of its so-called “security” measures, the Israeli occupation authorities have razed tens of thousands of old olive trees in the buffer zone, which is between 300 and 1,500 metres deep along the eastern edge of the Gaza Strip. More than 95 per cent of this area consists of farmland.
The olive harvest season in Palestine starts on 27 September, when the first signs of winter start with light rain across the country. It ends at the beginning of December.
Farmers said that the olive trees planted in the wake of the massive Israeli military offensive against the people of Gaza in 2014 contributed to the massive olive crop this year.
According to farmer Mohamed Qishta, 47, this year’s abundant olive crop is far better than previous seasons thanks to last winter’s rain. He also pointed out that many of the trees damaged by the Israelis in 2014 have recovered sufficiently to produce olives. Although he accepted that this means slightly lower prices than normal, it is still “a good business to be in.”