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Palestinian olive oil sector squeezed by production shortfalls

Olive oil is the main source of income for 100,000 Palestinian families, yet authorities keep ignoring warning signs in the struggling sector.
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RAMALLAH, West Bank — Ahmed Suleiman, a Palestinian farmer from the town of Tell in the northern West Bank, waits all year for olive harvest season. He owns an olive grove, and when the time comes, he picks and presses olives and sends the oil to Qatar, where his son sells it. Suleiman’s olive oil production amounts to some 25 containers with a capacity of 14 kilograms each.

“Selling olive oil locally is not very rewarding. A container is sold here for between 250 and 300 shekels [$70-$80], while in Qatar it is double the price, between 500 and 600 shekels [$150-$160],” Suleiman told Al-Monitor. His son, who works as a teacher in a public school in Qatar, sells the olive oil directly to consumers, allowing Suleiman to increase his profit by limiting his expenses to shipping fees from Palestine to Qatar.

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