Investigating the decline in flower farming on the Gaza strip. Since the 2007 Israeli blockade of trade from the Gaza strip border, the flower farmers of Gaza helplessly watch their fields, livelihoods and families wither.
Despite Palestinian farmers being permitted by the EU to export 75 million flowers to Europe duty free, in 2013 only 5 million ever made their way out of Gaza to the flower markets. The most important sales periods for these farmers are Christmas and Valentine’s Day, often the seasons when the border is closed completely by Israeli control. Leading to huge rises in unemployment, reduction in farmed land and hundreds of thousands of dead flowers left to rot, the landscape is stained for those trying to make a living.
Gaza’s last shipment of flowers earlier this year was a truckload of 25,000 stems symbolically allowed out for Valentine’s Day. These ‘floral refugees’ were only permissible to leave the country under a messy contradiction. Flowers have to exported by Israel under an Israeli company name, a PR exercise to show how Israeli government helps to 'facilitate' Palestinian exports, when in reality, they are destroying an economy that could be blooming. Brand names such as the ‘Flower Council’, the Israeli firm boasting to be the top exporter of Palestinian flowers and ‘Palestine Crops’ using the slogan 'From Palestine Land to Global Markets', are all run and owned by Israeli company’s. The farmers behind these company’s are being left to rot in the fields of their flowers.