Palestinian farmers in Gaza pick, sell prickly pears to earn living

Xinhua News Agency | Aug 7, 2020 at 3:05 PM

GAZA, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- At dawn every day, Mohammed Abu Tair, a Palestinian man living in the town of Abassan in the south of the Gaza Strip, goes with his sons to the fence separating the Palestinian enclave from Israel to pluck the prickly pears.

After six hours of work in the sun, they head to the local market where they sell the fruit for one U.S. dollar per kg.

"The people of Gaza are waiting for the prickly pear season to enjoy its sweet taste. It is one of our favorites fruits," said the 55-year-old man, holding a long stick to pick the prickly pears.

However, harvesting the fruit involves great difficulties because of the dense thorns covering them as well as the baking heat as high as 38 degrees Celsius the pickers have to suffer during the summer.

The prickly pear is a variety of cactus that grows in dry and hot places and requires neither water nor pesticides and little human care.

Abu Tair said he earns about 1,000 dollars at the end of each season, despite the fact that the coronavirus crisis has hampered the sales recently.

In an attempt to increase sales, the eldest son of Abu Tair draws creative pictures of prickly pears on the social media to impress his followers.

The 25-year-old young man told Xinhua that he even peels and cuts the prickly pears in unique dishes as many customers "fear of having the thorns."