Palestinian strawberry growers arrive to Israel for study-tour

With the hills of Tulkarm visible in the horizon, a group of 30 Palestinian farmers peered through rows of red fruit in the Arab-Israeli city of Kalansuwa – their second stop of the day on a strawberry cultivation study tour.

“I teach English in the morning and am a farmer in the afternoon,” Naim Shakri of Tulkarm told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday’s first stop in Tel Yitzhak.

Shakri and the other farmers came to Israel for a two-day continuing education program in the Sharon region, to learn about some of the strawberry-growing methods used in Israel. The group, predominantly from the Tulkarm and Jenin areas, met with farmers developing commercial seedlings and others experimenting on new growth techniques – both employing hanging systems and traditional in-ground planting methods.

“I came to study new things today,” said Abed al-Salam, who is from a village near Tulkarm, where he grows both strawberries and vegetables.

The tour was organized by Israel’s Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria, the principle facilitator for similar such collaborative ventures between Israeli and Palestinian farmers.

Nasser Bsharat, from Al-Jiftlik in the Jordan Valley, stressed how much there is to learn about the different types of strawberries that can be grown – pointing out that there are 42 different types being cultivated at their first stop of the day, the Romano Strawberry Nursery.  Continue reading…

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