Grapestock Nursery – West Bank

May 20, 2013 ANERA
Agriculture, Economic Development, West Bank
Iin the 1980s when an insect called phylloxera decimated Hebron-area farmers' grape crops, ANERA responded with new pest-resistant grape rootstocks.

The Reality

ANERA has long supported farmers’ cooperatives, offering financial and technical support to expand the farmers’ production and marketing capabilities. In Hebron, ANERA helped the Cooperative Society for Agricultural Marketing and Processing establish the first local grapevine nursery. But disaster struck in the 1980s when an insect called phylloxera caused a soil infestation that devastated the vineyards in Hebron and neighboring areas. A solution was needed, and needed fast.

ANERA’s Response

ANERA immediately brought in experts from the University of California at Davis to help the salvage the coop’s future. After months of studying the soil and climate of the entire area, the experts agreed the best solution was to replace the grapevines with seedlings grafted on disease-resistant rootstocks from the US.

Seventeen years since it was built, the cooperative’s nursery is thriving and ANERA’s support for their work has never ebbed. 

How it Worked

ANERA distributed 90,000 grape seedlings grafted on American rootstocks to farmers through the cooperative. At the same time, we upgraded the cooperative’s nursery to start producing the American grape rootstocks, a first of its kind project in Hebron. The cooperative rented a 4,000 square meter plot of land for a rootstock production farm. For more than 11 years, the farm has produced the healthy rootstocks not only for the cooperative’s nursery, but also for other private nurseries in the area.

In 2010-2011, ANERA assisted in reclaiming land in a new plot near Hebron for grape production and dug a cistern to harvest rainwater for irrigation in the dry summer months. We also built a fence and wall to surround the farm and a storage room/office area. ANERA donated 500 seedlings to help the cooperative produce new, healthy American rootstocks

Reactions to the Project

James Wolpert of the University of California: “My hat’s off to these entrepreneurs as propagators who are the first necessary pioneers for opening a robust new chapter in grape production.”

Samer Namoura, the cooperative’s general manager: “Now that the farm has been established, our very own locally-produced rootstocks can compete with the overpriced Israeli-imported ones, which used to be the only available source of grapes to farmers in Hebron.” Read more >>