Thursday, February 14, 2008

MIDEAST: No Lovers Got These Flowers

By Mohammed Omer

"RAFAH, Gaza Strip, Feb 14 (IPS) - After generations of occupation, Valentine's Day has meant little in the Gaza Strip. But the flowers that lovers presented in Europe has.

Majed Hadaeid, 43, knows that better than most, as he watches livestock make a meal of the flowers he had hoped to export to Europe.

"I have 130 dunams (32 acres)," he says. "All carnations, in 30 different colours, and varieties yielding 16-17 million blossoms per year."

In all, about 480 dunams of plantation produce on average 60 million flowers a year in Gaza between mid-November and mid-May. The seasonal export brings five million dollars in revenue, and means 4,000 jobs.

Hadaeid's nursery is one of the largest. Farmers like him usually sell to the European floral exchange in the Netherlands for distribution. Valentine's Day on Feb. 14 brings the largest sales.

This year, it did not......"

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