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After Corporate Watch sent an open letter to Valley Grown Salads (VGS), which has a 20% share in the Israeli company EDOM UK, we were immediately contacted by Jimmy Russo – the company’s director who is also the chairman of EDOM. Claiming that we had got our facts wrong, he was eager to dispute our claim that EDOM had been seen packing vegetables in the illegal settlement of Tomer in the Jordan Valley. Expressing concern that his company could become a ‘target’ as a result of any settlement connections, he emphasised that VGS would not trade with growers who used child labour or breached labour regulations and indicated that EDOM and VGS would not trade with the settlements in the future. Through written correspondence and a number of phone calls we have since attempted to get to the truth about EDOM’s business in the settlements and inside Israel, asking Russo to explain the various pieces of evidence that point to exports from Tomer. Read the rest of this entry »
UPDATE (12/05/10) – Valley Grown Salads and EDOM have replied to this letter claiming that the packing house in Tomer belongs not to them but to a grower that they have worked with in the past. They say that this grower is not part of their ‘supply base’ any more although they have ‘purchased from him’ on one occassion this season. EDOM claim that they have instructed the grower to take down the EDOM sign at the packing house in Tomer.
More updates soon.
An open Letter to Valley Grown Salads (www.v-g-s.co.uk)
To Whom it may Concern
I am writing to you from Corporate Watch (www.corporatewatch.org). Corporate Watch has, recently, been undertaking research in Palestine and has noted, with concern, that EDOM UK, an Israeli company in which your company holds a 20% share, operate a packing house in the illegal settlement of Tomer (pictures at https://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/uk-company-exporting-from-jordan-valley-settlements/). Read the rest of this entry »
Tomer is an illegal Israeli settlement of nearly 300 people close to the Palestinian community of Fasayil. It employs Palestinian and Thai workers, the bosses are Israeli. Tomer was established in 1976 on the lands of the people of Fasayil, Al Auja and other nearby Palestinian communities.
Some companies working inside Tomer:
TBP Export – http://www.tbp-export.com – Have a packing house in Tomer. They are, according to their website, an international marketing company for fresh produce set up by two Israeli agricultural companies, Mor-Li and Bar-Mor. Despite basing its packing house on an illegal settlement TBP export boasts that it is certified by EUREPGAP, an international certifier of “good agricultural practice”. They are also approved to British Retail Consortium (BRC) standards, suggesting they are marketing their goods in Britain. The company advertise potatoes, sweet potatoes, strawberries, peppers, herbs and organic products. TBP list many locations where they source their produce, although not the Jordan Valley. TBP does list Beit Shean and the Arava as two of their growing areas, the areas directly North and South of the valley. TBP’s contact address is in Ein Vered near Israel’s South Coast. TBP use the brandname ‘Rimon’, Corporate Watchers saw a truck emblazoned with this logo picking up produce from Tomer.
Carmel Agrexco – http://www.agrexco.co.il – Agrexco has several packing houses in Tomer and several Agrexco vans could be seen visiting the settlement every day. Agrexco are the largest agricultural company operating in the Jordan Valley and use the brandnames Carmel, Jaffa, Biotop, Coral, Jordan Plains, Alesia and Ecofresh. Agrexco subsidiaries include Agrexco (France), Agrexco (US), Carmexco (Italy), Eclectic, Carmel Cor, LACHS, Dalia (Germany). Agrexco have a regional office in the occupied Jordan Valley, at the Arovot HaYarden Regional Council, and are building a new refrigeration centre there. The company operates packing houses in most of the Jordan Valley settlements including Netiv Hagdud, Ro’i, Argaman, Mehola and Bet HaArava .
There has been a long running direct action campaign against Carmel Agreco in the UK (See http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/actions/2008/carmelagrexco/). Activists have repeatedly shut down Agrexco’s depot in Hayes, Middlesex, with blockades and occuptions. In 2006 a case against campaigners who had blockaded the company’s premises was dropped after the defendants had obtained disclosure from the company of its business in the occupied territories. The managing director, Amos Orr, stated in court that 60-70% of all produce from the West Bank was exported through Agrexco.
Carmel’s site boasts that they have branches in London, Frankfurt, Paris, Rotterdam, New York, Zurich, Vienna, Madrid and Milan. Several interviews with Carmel workers in the Jordan Valley by Corporate Watch and the Brighton-Tubas Friendship and Solidarity Group (www.brightonpalestine.org) have found that workers picking fruit and vegetables for the company in the occupied Jordan Valley are paid 70 – 75 shekels (about 13 pounds), less than half the Israeli minimum wage.
Nirav – http://www.nirav.co.il – Marketing company for greenhouses, sheds etc.
EDOM – http://www.edom.co.il – A partially British owned company. More info at https://corporateoccupation.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/further-information-about-edom-uk-signs-of-more-mislabelling/. Read the rest of this entry »
After finding a packinghouse bearing Edom UK signage inside the settlement of Tomer in the Jordan Valley a few weeks ago, we decided to look more closely into this joint Israeli and British company and their exports.
As mentioned in the previous report, the British company Valley Grown Salads own 20% of the shares in Edom UK, and since then we have found out that another British company, Glinwell PLC, own another 20%. 30% is owned by a company called Chosen Agricultural Products, which consists of farmers from Moshavs in the Arava region, and a further 30% by a company called Magnolia UK holdings. Read the rest of this entry »
The Jordan Valley is the Palestinian area most relentlessly exploited by settlement agricultural companies. Most famously campaigners have been focusing on the Israeli national exporter Carmel Agrexco for their illegal exports from the area. However, Corporate Watch has uncovered a new company to add to the target list. During a trip to the area we found a packing house bearing the signage of the Israeli company ‘Edom UK’ (http://www.edom.co.il/), 20% owned by the British company Valley Grown Salads (www.v-g-s.co.uk). The packing house is based in the agricultural area of the settlement of Tomer. There was also a truck marked EDOM UK picking up produce from the settlement. Read the rest of this entry »