تحليل سلسلة القيمة لمحصول اللوز في محافظة الخليل
رائد محمد ظاهر العويضات
Raed Mohammed Thaher Al-Ewaidat
The study revolves around the topic of value chain analysis of the almond crop, as value chain analysis is one of the modern methods of research in terms of providing a comprehensive and clear vision for all the supporting and influencing actors along the chain. The role of each individual or entity working along the chain is researched. This study touched upon one of the most promising agricultural crops in Palestine, as a result of the increasing demand for them locally and internationally, and the physiological and economic characteristics of this crop. The study aims to analyze the agricultural value chain of almond in Hebron governorate by screening value chain variables including production inputs, the agricultural practices and agricultural holdings in terms of ownership. The study took the following factors in consideration the irrigation pattern, the land specifications, the cultivated varieties, production, marketing, problems and obstacles and proposed solutions that affect the sector. The study also probes the tendency of farmers to expand or reduce the cultivation of almonds; the influential parties in the production and marketing of almonds; agricultural guidance to the almond sector and support for the almond sector. The study analyzes the value chain scheme for the almond crop as well as the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges that face the almond sector in the studied area. The study also looks into the profit margins for the most important varieties of almonds in the governorate and make a comparison of the profit margins between the two forms of dry and green almonds. The study follows the descriptive analytical approach and is based on a random sample representing the 100 almond farmers who own 5 dunums or more in Hebron governorate. The necessary data was collected based on a questionnaire and personal interviews of the study sample members. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) has been used to analyze the study data. The analyze of the value chain of almonds in the Hebron governorate showed important findings including the most important varieties of almond that are being cultivated. Velvet almonds and Umm al-Fahm almonds were among the top five cultivated varieties. The study has also found out that farmers heavily rely on organic fertilizers with an average use of 3.8 m3/dunum. Consequently, farmers use more herbicides in quantities of 0.69 liters / dunum. Farmers who use insecticides/pesticides outnumbered the farmers who use fungicides and herbicides. 90% of farmers use the rain-fed method to grow almonds and 10% rely on supplementary irrigation due to the lack of water or its insufficiency. The production of the almond crop depends on family labor, which constitutes 69.91% of the workforce. The involvement in implementing activities varies between men and women, so that men are in charge 69.52% and women 2.3%. The activities in which men and women participate together make up 28.18%. was found that farmers depend on agricultural mechanization in plowing is 82%. The process of almond picking is the most labor-intensive and most expensive operation, and 93% of farmers adopt the manual picking method. The average area of the almond crop reaches 9.9 dunums most of which is plain land by 44% and mountainous by 43%. The soil is mostly clay by 94%. The average production of green almonds makes up to 388 kg/dunum while the production of dry almonds constitutes 66 kg/dunum. It has been found out that 89% of the total production is green almonds. 91% of farmers rely on local central markets to sell almonds. The problems of diseases and pests of almonds and the lack of effective control to these diseases are the most important problems that face farmers, and addressing them constitute a priority for the farmers. The study has also found out that the most important reason for farmers to expand the cultivation of almonds is the economic feasibility of the crop. Farmers were considered the main factor that affect the value chain of almond crop. Farmers rely on the Ministry of Agriculture to choose the varieties while they rely on other sources for extension information. The study discovered a general weakness in regard to agricultural consultation/guidance as consultants only make an average of 1.4 annual visits to farmers. 70% of support to farmers come in the form of seedlings. The profit margin of green almonds is better than that of dry almonds, and the Al-Ahuja is the most profitable variety. The study concluded significant suggestions. It is possible for farmers to work in the almond sector while keeping their careers. Almond cultivation is a recent activity among farmers in the Hebron governorate, and thus there is a weakness in farmers' affiliation with cooperative societies. There is a tendency in the governorate to produce green almonds more than dry ones and to expand more than reduce the cultivation of almonds. The value chain for almonds in the Hebron governorate is meager but can be improved. Concerning recommendations: the most important of which is adopting scientific methods to increase the value chain of almonds, increasing the efforts on the part of the government and national organizations towards improving the value chain of almonds, adopting scientific approaches in cultivating new varieties of almonds and conducting a sufficient body of research in that regard. The study also suggested activating the role of consolations to correct the wrong practices of farmers, providing technical support for greenhouses, stores and merchants. The study also recommended supporting the private sector to create industries related to green almonds. The study concluded with a number of conclusions and recommendations, the most important of which is the cultivation of almonds in its current form in the Hebron governorate, which is a recent cultivation by farmers, the weakness of the cooperative societies in the governorate, the direction of farmers in the governorate towards the production of green almonds more than dry, the value chain of the almond crop in the Hebron governorate is considered A simple chain in its structure and relations between its parties, so it can be positively influenced for its development. There is a need to work on developing food industries related to green almonds to raise its value as a final product in the chain. The Ministry of Agriculture is the most capable entity in managing the value chain due to the overlapping of its activities and its responsibility with most of the parties in the chain. The most important recommendations were activating the role of agricultural extension to correct wrong agricultural practices for farmers, Supporting the almond sector to the availability of many strengths and opportunities that serve this sector along its value chain, working to direct technical and material support to all individuals and entities working in the chain because this is beneficial to all parties in the chain. Paying attention to conducting the necessary studies before recommending the cultivation of any variety In any region, directing the research efforts of the responsible authorities to find solutions to the problems of the almond sector along its production and marketing chain.