Friday, 31 May 2013


Palestine Fair Trade AssociationOn my visit to Jenin City in the northern governorate of Jenin in the West Bank, I strolled through the historic center to look for the offices of the Palestine Fair Trade Association (see: The coordinator explained how the association supports over 1700 local farmers who are committed to sustainable and organic farming methods by providing technical advice and facilitating organic certification.  They also promote collective farming methods traditionally used in Palestine (such as communal and extended family practices). The PFTA helps fair trade cooperatives (village cooperatives and women's cooperatives) link to international fair trade and ecological organizations.  The principal crops are olives, thyme, sesame seeds and almonds for the production of olive oil, soap, za'atar, tahini, and sweets.

Canaan Fair Trade: Canaan purchases certified fair trade and organic olives from the cooperatives of the Palestine Fair Trade Association and processes olive oil in their facilities.  After a visit to Jenin City I stopped in the village of Burqin to tour Canaan.  There, the olives are cold pressed and filtered, although Canaan does bottle raw olive oil immediately after harvest in November.  Canaan also packages and distributes other fair trade products, such as almonds, honey and tapenades made from olives, nuts and/or sun-dried tomatoes. Canaan and the Palestinian Fair Trade Association collaborate to organize alternative tourism programs during the olive harvest season.
Canaan products are sold in Canada by Zatoun at Ten Thousand Villages stores and the United States by Canaan-USA.