Source: XINHUA | 2013-3-3 | ONLINE EDITION
RAFAH, Gaza Strip, March 3 (Xinhua) -- In recent months, Palestinian farmers in the Gaza Strip faced a severe decline in exporting various kinds of vegetables to Europe, due to competition from some African countries. As a result, they started to plant medicinal herbs and spices to increase their profits.
"The farmers found out that vegetables are not worth growing due to exporting difficulties and a profit decrease, therefore we thought of new agricultural products," said Abu Najja, who attended an agricultural exhibition on herbs and spices last year in Berlin.
As the use of medicinal herbs and spices, mainly in some European countries, has become more and more popular, farmers in Gaza found it is a golden opportunity to grow up such kinds of herbs and spices and export them to many European countries.
"We used to export cherry tomatoes, strawberries and flowers to Europe and other Arab countries," said Abu Najja, who owns a farm in the west of Rafah in southern Gaza Strip, adding "But since this business declines, we found out that producing and exporting medicinal herbs and spices to Europe is worth doing because the demand of it is high."
Local agricultural experts said that the soil and weather conditions in Gaza are fitting for growing medicinal herbs and spices.
"There are 26 various kinds of green medicinal herbs and spices that farmers in southern Gaza Strip are growing, such as ginger, dill, Cumin, basils, garlic and caraway, and they can grow during the entire year," Abu Najja introduced.
Ahmed el-Farra, another farmer from the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza Strip, said that the Israeli restrictions imposed on the export of agricultural products from Gaza are now less than three years ago, adding "after the war in November, exports of agricultural products (from Gaza) increased."