Agricultural cooperation with PA continues despite tensions

While the dust-ups over final-status issues drum up front-page headlines around the world, behind the scenes there is ongoing cooperation in the business of feeding all the people between the river and the sea.

By EHUD ZION WALDOKS
November 29, 2010 04:49
2 minute read.
URIEL HARIRI (center), of the Civil Administration

Agricultural Cooperation 311. (photo credit: Aaron Menenberg)

 
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While direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority might be lagging, the flow of information and training regarding agricultural matters is going strong.

Just last week, 26 PA Agriculture Ministry employees took part in a three-day seminar on pastures organized by the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria in conjunction with the Agriculture Ministry.

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This was no one-off project either, but part of an ongoing series of workshops on all sorts of agricultural topics designed to transfer knowledge from Israel to the PA, Sameer Moaddi, agricultural coordinator for the civil administration, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

“There’s a good budget for these kinds of projects, so we have people coming over all the time. Last week was about pastures, this week we are touring in the South with JNF/KKL, and taking a tour of Tnuva. In December, we’re going to hold a seminar on growing produce for export,” he said.

“They don’t have the knowledge and experience that we do, so we’re doing what we can to pass it on,” he added.

Last week, 30 people, four of them from Moaddi’s department, spent two days in classes in Haifa and then traveled to see a pasture in the South near Lehavim.

“The PA has 2 million dunams [200,000 hectares] of pasture land. Israel has 2 million dunams of permanent pasture land and another 2 million of seasonal pasture land. There are 500 Israeli farmers with large land holdings and another 500 smaller ones, mostly Beduin,” Moaddi said.



It’s no small task to keep a pasture properly producing, so the seminar focused on preservation, introducing the right livestock to the pasture, enriching the pasture and providing the right water infrastructure.

Taking care of pastures improperly can degrade them or damage them, “if the animals get in among the crops,” for instance, according to Moaddi. The course also included field management techniques.

Moaddi is in constant contact with the PA Agriculture Ministry, which both helps select participants for the seminars and also sometimes requests specific topics, he said. Moaddi is happy to oblige if at all feasible.

So while the dust-ups over final-status issues drum up front-page headlines around the world, behind the scenes there is ongoing cooperation in the business of feeding all the people between the river and the sea.

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