Dates Festival Opens in Jericho

JERICHO, October 28, 2013 (WAFA) – Minister of Agriculture Walid Assaf stressed Monday during the opening of the fifth Palestinian dates exhibition in Jericho that his ministry was serious about supporting and promoting the growing of palm trees and the production of dates, which is considered the second Palestinian product in Palestine.

He stressed that the planting of palm trees will not decline and will be provided with the necessary laws, regulations, and supportive decisions to help it prosper.

He also stressed that the government will legally fight Israeli settlement products, particularly date products.

Assaf said his ministry worked and is working on providing different sources of water for irrigation through the building of dams, rehabilitation of all wells in the Jordan Valley and through the greening of Palestine.

Abdel Majid Swailem, head of the Palestinian Farmers Union, said dates cultivation forms a leap and significant development in the national economy and is expected to provide a financial return of approximately 70 to 100 million US dollars and will provide, during the next five years, around 7000 job opportunities.

He stressed the importance of tightening the monitoring on settlement products, stressing that the Israelis may resort to different methods to obtain Palestinian certificates on their products, particularly after many European Union and other countries imposed a total ban on Israeli settlement products entering its markets.

He praised the quality of the Palestinian dates, which gained international quality certifications.

The opening was attended by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and other officials, in addition to a Brazilian diplomatic delegation.