The Palestinian Farmers Union (PFU) organized a meeting on Wednesday, 27th February 2019 which included representatives from six agricultural councils. In attendance were the Palm Council, the Vegetable Council, the Olive Council, the Wheat Council, the Bee Councilو and the Poultry Council. The meeting was also attended by the MoA Director of NGOs and the Director of Agricultural Councils. The meeting focused on the following topics: an exploration of the current legal status of the draft agricultural council law, gathering feedback from agricultural councils on the current draft law, enhancing cooperation and coordination among agricultural councils, and the aim to shed light on recent implications that farmers encounter on the tax refund process.
According to The MoA Director of NGOs, the Agricultural Councils Law was submitted on December 2018 to the Council of Ministers, but due to the resignation of the government and the existence of a business facilitation government, the law will not be implemented any time soon. The law will remain pending until further notice.
For obtaining and gathering feedback from agricultural councils on current draft law, PFU promised to provide them the draft law as long as they received it. Going forward, and upon receipt of the draft a meeting with the legislative committee at the Council of Ministers will be held on Wednesday the 6th of March, 2019 at 10:00 am to make a revision for the draft law and to discuss the possibility of implementation.
In order to further the cooperation and coordination with the agricultural councils, The PFU suggested regular monthly meetings, which the parties consented. This meeting is aiming to stress the MOA independence of function and duties and to enhance the lack of understanding with the agricultural councils.
The PFU recognized unjustified deductions from the farmers’ tax refund and singled out the Ministry of Finance in the transgression. The PFU is sending a formal grievance letter on behalf of the farmers to the responsible authorities, including the MoA, the Council of Ministers, and President Mahmoud Abbas.