Arava Export Growers is the third largest agricultural export company in Israel, with export sales of about €60 million. It is 50% owned by B. Gaon Holdings and 50% by farmers in the Arava region of Israel. The company exports (organic) peppers, tomatoes, melons, grapes, mangos, herbs, cucumbers, aubergines, watermelons and cut flowers to a large number of export markets, all under the Arava brand name. No recent figures on export quantities are available, but in 2000/2001 Arava Export Growers exported 18,000 tons of fresh produce from more than 200 growers from various regions of Israel (its map does not differentiate between Israel and occupied territory).
Arava is active for instance in the occupied Jordan Valley. The picture below is taken from Arava’s website and shows its tomato growing regions which include the Jordan Valley, north of the Dead Sea, which is part of the West Bank. Arava also writes on its website that it exports peppers, herbs, grapes and organic products from the Jordan Valley.
Arava Export Growers is supplied by “Jordan River Herbs”, a company owned by farmers from the settlement of Mechola in the occupied Jordan Valley.
Arava Export Growers had a sales office in the UK from 2001 until the end of 2008. A new company, Mill Associates, has taken over the marketing activities of Arava UK. Mill Associates was established by the former UK general manager for Arava. Mill Associates indicated in response to an earlier draft of this report sent to them for comment, that: ‘Arava does not supply melons, mangos, cucumbers, aubergine, watermelons or cut flowers into the UK’. This suggests that Arava does export the other export products grown by Arava – peppers, tomatoes, grapes and herbs – to the UK. As indicated above, these products could be grown by Arava’s suppliers in the Jordan Valley, which is in the OPTs.
The address of Mill Associates Ltd. is:
Unit 5, The Mill Business Centre
Gringley on the Hill
Nottinghamshire DN10 4RA
On its website, Arava states it complies with the Tesco Natures Choice standard, although it is not clear if Arava is actually supplying to Tesco.
UK economic links with Israeli settlements