On Monday (March 11th, 2013), the Israeli Coordination and Liaison Administration (ICLA) for the Gaza Strip hosted twenty-nine farmers from Gaza to attend the annual Strawberry Fair in Qalansuwa, Israel.
The event (organized by the Israeli Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development’s Agricultural Extension Service), is held annually in order for professionals to become acquainted with a large variety of strawberries as well as new and approved materials used within the industry. The fair was also attended by representatives of the Coordination and Liaison Administration for Gaza (CLA), Mr. Uri Madar and Mr. Eli Sadeh.
The farmers arrived early Monday morning through the Erez Crossing and were greeted by Mr. Eli Sadeh and other representatives of the ICLA. For some, it was their first time participating but many were veterans of ICLA sponsored trips. The ICLA coordinated the transportation for the Gazan farmers who arrived in Qalansuwa around 10 a.m. When the farmers arrived, they were able to participate in the fair’s activities such as meeting with growers presenting different types of strawberries as well as learning about new products such as pesticides that are used within the industry. The fair also included a ceremony which was attended by Orit Noked, the Israeli Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. Towards the end of the fair, the Gazan farmers were shown strawberry fields and were able to learn about the different methods used for growing the fruit and were able to ask any questions they had.
Coordination and Liaison Administration for Gaza held dozens of seminars and conventions for the business sector as well as specifically for the farmers. The ICLA organizes events such as these for the Gazan farmers because it assists them greatly to keep up with the ever changing industry standards and development within the strawberry fruit itself. Through sampling and presentations, the farmers were able to learn more about different growing methods and how that affects how long a strawberry can remain edible or when it needs to be planted.
This event was made possible due to the stable security climate following Operation Pillar of Defense. The Israeli Coordination and Liaison Administration for the Gaza Strip hopes for more cooperation in the field of agriculture and plans to coordinate more events such as these which provide professional training and business opportunities for Gazan farmers and merchants.