PFU Launches ADVOCATE Project

PFU Launches ADVOCATE Project

On April 9, the PFU held a meeting attended by representatives from local PFU branches, Agricultural Councils and Oxfam, introducing stakeholders to the ADVOCATE project. The project, funded by the Action Solidarité Tiers Mondeand (ASTM), aims to promote farmers’ rights by enhancing local PFU branches' capacity through advocacy workshops and campaigns.

In recent years, the Palestinian Authority has ratified several agricultural laws affecting the agricultural sector and the living conditions of small farmers. The activation of a law that would return the value-added tax paid on agricultural inputs has been delayed for 2 years, and consequently many farmers have not yet seen these taxes returned. Additionally, development in the agricultural sector has been impeded by the income tax imposed on farmers. The PFU has been pressing the relevant Palestinian Ministries to exempt farmers from this, and in April 2015 the Palestinian Council of Ministers announced that farmers will be made exempt from income tax by the end of the month.

In 2014, the PFU received a grant from ASTM in order to boost local branches capacity to lobby for these laws’ implementation through a series of advocacy workshops. Workshops will explain the impact of current agricultural laws and policies, and the resultant need for organised representation to protect farmers’ rights and interests. Attendees will be introduced to advocacy techniques and campaign strategies, and assisted in planning campaigns to be implemented in their local districts.

Thursday’s meeting gave local representatives the opportunity to make and discuss other recommendations for the project, which included:

• Setting up a communication strategy to implement the project and ensure regular communication.
• The need for regular meetings and field visits to monitor progress during the implementation stage.
• Rotating the location of meetings between districts.
• Development of a risk management strategy and emergency procedures.