Producer: Yusef Murad
Location: Kufr Manda
Yusef Murad (Abu Zaki), an 80-year-old farmer, is a fair trade sesame producer, and one of the last sesame growers in the Arab village of Kufr Manda. His delectable, nutritious sesame is sold by Sindyanna of Galilee since 2008.
Yusef began working the lands of the family when he was 12 years old. His father inherited 12 acres of land, which were divided between Yusef and his brothers. In 1962, his earnings and hard work enabled him to purchase the first tractor in Kufr Manda. Thereafter, he began working for other farmers in the village, acquiring valuable connections and experience. Unlike other farmers who gave up on agriculture and decided to sell their lands, Yusef kept his land and opted to purchase more lands from other farmers.
Today the Murad family produces a few tons of sesame every year. "It requires difficult manual labor, and it's very hard to compete with the prices of imported sesame," says Yusef. Why does Yusef continue the sesame growing business? "My mother had called for me before she died, and asked me to continue to sow sesame every year. I must fulfill her wish, and so will my sons," explains Yusef.
Thanks to his mother, Yusef sows 20 dunam (5 acres) of the highest quality sesame every year, from which he draws his family's livelihood.