Israeli Firm Becomes Top Exporter of Palestinian Flowers

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The Flower Council, a company formed by Israeli flower farmers to handle their exports, has become the biggest exporter of flowers grown by Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the company said on Monday.

“In addition to Israeli exports, the Flower Council is today the top exporter of Palestinian products from Gaza and Judea and Samaria to overseas markets in cooperation with Europeans,” said Haim Hadad, the secretary of the Israel Flower Growers Association.

With plans to expand to other farm exports, the company expects its turnover to grow by 20% in 2014 to some 300 million shekels ($86 million) and to become the single largest shipper of agricultural products through Ben-Gurion Airport, accounting for a quarter of all agricultural goods.

Founded by the Israel Flower Growers Association two years ago, the Flower Council was one of the contenders to acquire Agrexco, which was then Israel’s largest exporter of agricultural products before the company was liquidated. After its failed bid for Agrexco, The Flower Council expanded its business by signing a series of agreements with growers of flowers, citrus, herbs, strawberries, plums, peppers and potatoes.

The Flower Council handles about 30% of all Israeli flowers that go to Europe, according to Hadad. The company recently a signed a cooperative agreement with Agriver Agriculture, which exports fresh produce to Eastern Europe, Russia, the United States, Canada and Japan.

Under an agreement reached a year ago, Israel is exporting spices, strawberries, lemons, and flowers to Europe. The Palestinian produce is shipped out of Gaza for packaging by Flower Council and is then exported to Europe. The collaboration between Israel Flower Growers Association and Gazan farmers is administered through a computer system, which enables Palestinians growers to monitor the trade in their products.

Closeup of the "Maccabean blood" flower.Credit: Gideon Pisanty, Wikimedia Commons
Flowers packaged for export (illustrative).Credit: Bloomberg

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