Helping Palestinian farmers maintain a safe olive tree cycle

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) distributed thousands of bio-traps to help Palestinian farmers in several Palestinian villages protect their olive trees against the olive fruit fly.

The project aims to support hundreds of Palestinian farmers who are affected by the conflict and do not have access to their agricultural lands or whose lands are located near settlements and the seam zone around the West Bank.

It means a lot to the farmers to be able to take care of their trees. The high quality bio-traps are expected to have a great impact on the upcoming olive harvest. We hope farmers will see tangible results and produce pure olive oil soon, says Shadi Salman from the MoA

Bio-traps are an ecological pest-control solution, as they provide protection from the olive fruit fly and contain an organic insect repellent formula that provides effective and long-term protection up to eight months, starting from the month of April and ending with the olive harvest season in late October and November, when the flies are most active.

This is my first visit to the seam zone in the last eight years. It's very important to carry out projects in these areas to help maintain the connection between the farmers and their fields. Hopefully, things will change for the better on the ground, says Saed Neirat from the MoA

In fields that Palestinian farmers are not allowed to access regularly, the olive fruit fly has damaged up to 80% of olive production. As for the areas where bio-traps are distributed, the percentage of olives on trees is around 55%, and the quality of olive oil has reached 43%, in addition to contributing to improving food security and livelihoods for 400 Palestinian families who depend on olive oil production and live in communities located within Area C in the West Bank and near the seam zone by protecting their fields from diseases and pests, says Francesca Salvi, Economic Security Generalist at the ICRC

The field trip was very useful. We learned a lot from the representatives of the MoA and the ICRC on how the bio-traps are expected to improve the productivity of the trees in the upcoming harvest, says Alaa, a farmer from Jalbun village, east of Jenin

It is worth noting that last year, the ICRC, in cooperation with the MoA, succeeded in using bio-traps to protect trees against insects in the Gaza Strip and various areas of the West Bank, including Burin, Asirah al-Qibliya and Qaryut, achieving concrete results in those areas.