Olive Farming : Rooted in Time and Tradition

‘Olive farming is about heritage, it’s not just about money. We inherit this land from our parents and we give it to our children.’ Belal Eid, Jorat Amra Cooperative

Farmers Khader Khader and Taysir Arbasi, from Palestine were in Orkney over the weekend to speak about olive production and the Fairtrade company Zaytoun.

Palestinian farmers

L-R Khader Khader, Taysir Arbasi

Zaytoun is a community interest company. It was founded to support Palestinian farmers with 100% of its profits reinvested in those farming communities.  Taysir Arbasi is a community leader and Zaytoun’s Director in Palestine. The area in which he lives, Salfeet District has seen land grabs where the best agricultural land is stolen and illegally settled.

The farmers explained that the product they produce is of the highest quality and whole families are involved in its production. Khader Khader worked for many years in a plastics factory in Israel. On returning he was unable to get much for the olives he produced. In 2006 along with other farmers in his community they formed a co-operative with the support of the Palestine Fair Trade Association.

With profits now being reinvested it meant a tractor could be bought and new olive and almond saplings could be planted from the Tree of Life programme.

In their talk to the Orkney Friends of Palestine on Saturday 2nd of March Taysir Arbasi explained how important being a Fairtrade producer was. Taysir Arbasi said:  “This is trade, not aid. ” 

This was an excellent talk from two farmers working hard with their families to produce a traditional crop but to modern standards of excellence.

Zaytoun products include:

  • Fairtrade olive oil
  • Fairtrade almonds
  • Medjoul dates
  • Za’atar – a zesty herb mix
  • Organic maftoul
  • Freekeh

The talk was livestreamed to The Orkney News Facebook page if you wish to view it.

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

Zaytoun recipe


Zaytoun – Artisanal Palestinian Products

Recipe: Fairtrade almond and dark chocolate cookies


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