Through a combination of extensive education and training, organic and fair trade certification, and community empowerment programs, Canaan Fair Trade enables small farmers and women organized in village cooperatives to pool their resources and have direct access to long-term global market opportunities. Specifically the initiative creates economic stability for rural Palestinian communities caught in the midst of conflict by cultivating local and global partnerships that are invested in creating economically viable and environmentally sustainable farming in Palestine. Canaan combines traditional farming practices with cutting edge innovations in farming and production through research and development to enhance product yield and quality, resulting in premium products that are competitive in global markets. As a result small farmers and women are able to earn a living, maintain their relationship to their land, and provide a future for their children.
Palestine Fair Trade Association - PalestineLead applicant
1- Promote social accountability in the production and trade process in Palestine through fair trade ideas and practices. 2- Establish locally understandable fair trade guidelines and standards that concern Palestinian products that are in sync with international fair trade standards. 3- Pre qualify Palestinian producers and products for internationally recognized Fair Trade certification standards. 4- Create a medium where producers, processors, and exporters can sort out matters of joint interest related to production and trade process. 5- Empower women and other marginalized groups especially in rural areas through economic and social empowerment programs. 6- Increase international market access to Palestinian producers through fair trade channels. 7- Promote environmentally friendly farming practices and support conversion into certified organic farming. 8- Create mediums and opportunities where Palestinian grassroots and small holders can cultivate the international solidarity and support they have into meaningful and empowering outcomes.
dwp fair trade cooperative - GermanyInitiative partner
We import fair traded products from 60 small-scale farmers' producergroups in 35 countries. We stress especially on long-term and direct partnerships with our overseas partners. Beside the payment of fair prices we provide interest free advance payments of minimum 50 % of the total order value. In addition to our fair trade acitivities we support our partners in changing into the organic farming and provide them with knowledge from cooperation partners in the organic sector. We work only with producer partners who are aiming to benefit a bigger community and who are involved in more activities than "only" producing/harvestig fair trade products/ingredients, but who week for social justice, work for human rights issues, for gender issues and for working for more peace. We see it as very important that our handling of our cooperative is not only restricted to overseas acvities but that we also take up social responsibility in Germany.
Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps - United StatesInitiative partner
Dr. Bronner's Manufactures personal care products, cleaning products, and food oils using predominantly certified organic and fair trade natural ingredients. Certified ingredients include mint oil, coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil, etc.
Triodos Sustainable Trade Fund - NetherlandsInitiative partner
Triodos Sustainable Trade Fund aims to improve the economic position of farmers in developing countries and to encourage sustainable agriculture as an alternative to conventional, chemical-intensive agriculture. The fund provides trade finance loans to co-operatives and private companies operating in sustainable agricultural value chains, and has a specific focus on organic agriculture and fair trade.
Shared Interest Society Limited - United KingdomInitiative partner
Shared Interest is the world’s only 100% fair trade lender providing finance to fair trade organisations. We provide bespoke loans and credit facilities to suit our customers’ needs. Established in 1990, Shared Interest is a co-operative lending society based in the north-east of England. We have since expanded and now have satellite offices in Kenya, Peru, Ghana and Costa Rica. Our 9,000 UK-based members invest the funds that we then lend to our customers. For more information please visit our website at http://en.shared-interest.com/borrow
Zaytoun CIC - United KingdomInitiative partner
Alterfin - BelgiumInitiative partner
Alterfin is a social lender investing in microfinance, fair trade and smallholder agriculture value chains.
Sustainable farming: Taking Palestine into the Future
This initiative has led to shifting perceptions of Palestinians from victim or terrorist to artisan producer and trade partner. Insisting on Life has mainstreamed Palestine in the West as a worthy context to empower through long-term business relationships and cross-cultural exchange within the framework of social responsibility and environmental sustainability. This shift opened the global market to Palestine, thereby reinvigorating traditional farming as a viable social and economic activity with the production of premium food products that are both locally relevant and globally competitive. This contribution, be it at the local or global level, has cultivated a climate of hope and promise in that it has enabled Palestinian farmers to live off their land and enhance food security, while at the same time enjoy a more effective platform within the global sustainability movement through which to address their needs as marginalized communities caught in the midst of conflict.
Olive oil and bread are staple food items in the Palestinian context. Consequently, olives and wheat represent a significant share of traditional agricultural activity in Palestine. However, small-scale producers have found little room to access the global market because as individual farmers it was not economically viable to meet market demands for scale and quality specifications, nor were their products well known or appreciated for the market to consider their products desirable. As a result, olive oil flooded the local market, causing prices to plummet. Without a sufficient return on investment, Palestinian olive farmers began to abandon farming as a means to support their livelihood, which in turn posed a direct threat to food security. Because land is the primary regenerative resource for Palestinians to secure their own food and support their livelihood, reinvigorating the farming sector in general and olive farming in particular is at the center of this initiative.
- Rebranding of Palestine by shifting perceptions of Palestinians as a viable trade partner
- Reinvigoration of farming sector through education, training and fair trade organic certification, leading to improved yield, soil quality, scale and diversification of crops, and tripled income of participating olive farmers (doubled for other farmers)
- Direct and stable market access for small-scale farmers with guaranteed above market prices for finished premium food products
- Empowerment of farming communities through village-based cooperatives and value-added pricing of fair trade products
- Broadened role of women in family and community through women co-ops for food products traditionally produced by women
- Elevation of sustainable farming practices to national agricultural agenda
- Renewed hope and dignity through long-term relationships and cross-cultural exchange that supports Palestinian farming communities in the context of social responsibility and environmental sustainability
When Canaan began its initiative small-scale farmers were facing plummeting olive oil prices in the local market and had little or no access to global markets. They were not able to support their families from their land and were questioning the viability of farming as a means to support their livelihood. Within the framework of social responsibility and environmental sustainability Canaan linked struggling farmers to global investors and markets interested in empowering Palestinian communities caught in the midst of conflict. These early connections became long-term relationships that established Palestinian producer communities as viable trade partners with value-added products that from the beginning enabled farmers to support their families, stay on their land and earn their livelihood from their land. Canaan also secured markets for the products of artisan women producers enabling women cooperatives to earn an income off products they traditionally produced for their families.
There are a total of 12 personnel in Canaan Fair Trade and the Palestine Fair Trade Association that are key to the success of this initiative. See attached document for a complete description of roles and responsibilities and see attached organizational charts for the relationships between these positions:
Nasser Abufarha, Founder & Director of Canaan Fair Trade, Founder of the Palestine Fair Trade Association (PFTA)
Laila Yasin, Sales & Customer Service
Manal Abdullah, Media & Promotion
Ahmed Abufarha, Administration
Fida Abdullah, Accounting & Finance
Majid Abufarha, Producer Relations
Ahmed Tahyneh, Head Organic & Fair Trade Inspector
Mahmoud Hamdan, Agricultural Products Purchasing Manager
Anan Amer, Production Management
Hajj Bashir Habaybi, President of PFTA Board
Khader Khader, Founder of Nus Jbeil Co-op and PFTA Board Member
Siham (Im Hakmet), Founder of Deir Balout Coop & PFTA Board Member
Canaan had to contend with global perceptions of Palestine as a war zone plagued by instability that was not even considered a viable market or trade partner. Canaan also faced limitations to production for farmers and access to global markets due to the conditions of conflict that restrict farmers’ access to land (checkpoints, closed/limited access areas), natural resources (water and electricity), and the outside world (travel restrictions). Canaan made a strategic decision to operate outside of ongoing local and international development work through agencies that were pulling farmers in divergent directions and lacked vision or achieved limited or isolated results. Instead Canaan developed a complete production and trade cycle from the soil to the shelf so that all levels of the initiative are part of a seamless program for optimal impact on small-scale producers and their communities. Where possible Canaan integrated positive aspects from other projects into Canaan’s initiative.
Fair trade organic farming builds off of traditional Palestinian farming methods that have been passed down from generation to generation. Canaan raises awareness among Palestinian farmers of the benefits of these practices on the environment through its extensive education and training programs. This process leads to organic fair trade certification that enables small farmers and women to receive a premium price for their products on global markets. Canaan reaffirms traditional farming practices that are sustainable combined with proven techniques that maximize on-farm resources such as moisture retention, soil fertility, and integrated pest management. Moreover, Canaan works with farmers incrementally to improve farming practices that are environmentally sustainable such as waste management and product storage. Canaan also is invested in the future by planting trees annually and supporting the cultivation of wild collection plants through habitat mapping and land capacity analysis.
Canaan has demonstrated the viability of Palestine as a trade partner and the value of fair trade organic certification for Palestinian farmers. By reinvigorating the farming sector within the framework of social responsibility and environmental sustainability, Canaan has inspired a number of other initiatives in the West Bank from NGOs or institutions to integrate the language and/or principles of fair trade and organic practices into their own initiatives. Many independent cooperatives and companies that were leery of the concept of fair trade or organic now recognize the value of certified fair trade organic products and have adopted these practices. The Ministry of Agriculture has shifted its agricultural agenda to include organic fair trade practices and Canaan will lead a Research Center using Ministry facilities. Farmers beyond Canaan affiliated cooperatives have become fair trade organic certified and are empowered to demand higher prices and better terms in the local market.
Embedded within each product and on Canaan’s website are the stories of Palestinian farmers and the impact Canaan’s initiative has on their livelihood. Canaan staff have taken farmers and women from the women co-ops on promotional tours in the UK and Europe to visit customers and consumers in their home countries so they can hear directly from producers how this fair trade initiative has affected their lives and their livelihood. Canaan also brings the customer to the farmer at the annual Harvest Festival to enable international guests to experience Palestinian culture first hand by staying in farmers’ homes, picking olives, and celebrating the harvest with them. Canaan also participates in global trade exhibitions to promote Canaan’s premium products and ingredients to companies, retailers and distributors. At the grassroots level Canaan has collaborated with other chefs around the world to host intercultural cooking demonstrations using Palestinian and local ingredients.