The annual Olive Harvest Festival was a perfect time to visit Canaan Fair Trade and learn about the origins of this very unique cooperative that while only beginning its operation in 2005, has now become the world’s largest fair trade olive oil supplier, according to company founder Nasser Abufarha.
With over 2,149 Palestinian farmers under its umbrella, Canaan Fair Trade, located in Burqin, within the heart of the northern Samarian region of the Palestinian Territories, generated revenues of $4.1 million and over 300 tons of olive oil in 2013. The company’s founder, a Palestinian-American businessman Nasser Abufarha, conceived of the idea of creating an organic fair trade cooperative after returning from the US, where he received his Ph.D at the University of Wisconsin. Having been exposed to fair trade in the US, he thought about bringing the concept to the regions many Palestinian olive farmers, who lacked real organization and certainly certification as organic producers. He returned to his home in Palestine and establish Canaan, basing it on certain guidelines including both social and financial profitability, as well as being environmentally sustainable.
Canaan Fair Trade produces a number of products under their own brand name as well as others that are white labeled under such famous and renowned brands as William Sonoma, Dr. Bronners and others and their products are sold in many natural markets around the world including Whole Foods and others.