Fact Sheet: Agriculture

USAID helped the Palestinian agribusiness sector increase exports by $25,000,000 from 2012–2013 through the provision of technical assistance on job skills, improving product quality, accessing capital and reaching new markets. USAID assists food producers participate in international trade shows, organizes meetings with international agribusinesses and distributors and facilitates the use of treated wastewater for agriculture, all of which increase investments and exports. In 2013, USAID helped negotiate ten forward contracts between Palestinian farmers and domestic and international agribusinesses, infusing $8,000,000 into the Palestinian economy.

Herbs: USAID provided technical assistance members of HEPPCO, a non-profit company representing 23 Palestinian fresh herbs exporters. By adapting to international standards and USDA-APHIS requirements, HEPPCO member companies are now able to market herbs – including basil, tarragon, chives, rosemary, mint, thyme, coriander and parsley – to the U.S., partnering with John Vena in the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, Mor, and Garden Herbs. In 2012 and 2013, Palestinian fresh herbs exports reached $15 million dollars. Fresh Produce: USAID also partnered with Top Field, a company based in the northern West Bank that grows fresh produce including carrots, onions, and red potatoes. As a result of USAID’s technical assistance focusing on quality improvements, Top Field now exports to the UK, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Jordan. Top Field has partnered with Al Salam Group, which manufactures frozen vegetables and the Jordanian manufacturer of Lays potato chips.

Dates: USAID assisted Nakheel Palestine for Agricultural Investment, a private shareholding company, in meeting food safety standards, which resulted in enhanced competitiveness. As a result of participating in international food tradeshows, which USAID facilitated, the company’s incremental exports reached $1,765,000, with their Madjoul dates reaching retailers in Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Qatar, Russia, Spain, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the U.S.

U.S. also supports Canaan Fair Trade, which works with 1,700 fair trade organic farmers, to package and sell bulk and finished products in the U.S., Europe and some regional markets. Canaan specializes in olive oil aggregation and packaging and recently introduced new products including spreads, almonds and dried vegetables. With USAID’s support, Canaan has worked with farmers to introduce new technologies and handling techniques that helped them increase olive oil production by 160%. Canaan has enjoyed increasing success recently:

  • Whole Foods: Canaan’s olive oil is sold in 270 Whole Foods Markets across the U.S. under the “Alter Eco” brand and packaging.
  • Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap: Canaan is the main supplier of olive oil to Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap, the leading organic bar and liquid soap brand.
  • Williams Sonoma: Canaan supplies products to high end retailer Williams Sonoma, including maftoul (Palestinian couscous) that is handmade by women’s cooperatives in the West Bank.
  • Ben and Jerry UK: Canaan supplies fair trade almonds for use in various Ben and Jerry ice cream toppings and flavoring in the European market.
  • The Body Shop: Canaan supplies almond oil to The Body Shop for use in various cosmetic products.

USAID provides assistance to Palestinian industries in order to create jobs and help companies pursue opportunities in domestic and regional markets. USAID promotes economic growth in key economic sectors of the Palestinian economy, including agribusiness. The U.S. is the leading provider of bilateral development assistance to the Palestinians, having provided $4.5 billion since 1994 for programs in the areas of democracy and governance; education; health and humanitarian assistance; private enterprise; and water resources and infrastructure.