Sheep Breeders Cooperative
Marai, the Negev Bedouin Sheep Breeders Cooperative, is the first Bedouin cooperative in the world.
In recent years, the traditional business of maintaining and tending herds of sheep in Arab Bedouin society has turned from an asset into a financial burden. The increase in the cost of animal feed, the reduction in lands for grazing and high taxation has caused a sharp decline in earnings for owners of herds. This impact is so great that some shepherds have even abandoned this traditional business altogether.
Through our program, sheep farmers from the village of Abu Krinat (located between Dimona and Beer Sheva) participate in a two-year program during which they receive special training from an expert veterinarian on innovative methods for improving their breeds and managing herds of sheep. Educational site visits to sheep farmers around the country are an integral part of the training.
The sheep farmers have formed a purchasing cooperative that enables them to lower costs and increase profitability. They also receive training from AJEEC-NISPED staff regarding professional development skills and business cooperation.
Marai in the News Cooperatives Conference (November 2014):
Salah Abu Rashed, director of the Department of Economic Empowerment, speaks at the Mitzpe Ramon Cooperatives Conference on Marai.
Jerusalem Post (September 2014): “Supporting Israel is Only Natural” –
“Aiming to revolutionize an industry facing severe financial struggles, Bedouin shepherds in Israel have begun to join the world’s first ever Beduin agricultural co-operative. Following a year of preparations, the Beer Sheva-based Arab-Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation – Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development (AJEEC-NISPED) launched the Mara’i Sheep Breeders Cooperative about a month ago… Recently, the shepherds also received training from Dame Pauline Green [pictured above], president of the International Co-operative Alliance.”
Jerusalem Post – “First Bedouin agricultural cooperative in the world launches in Israel – The shepherds have joined the cooperative with the goal of lowering their collective costs and increasing their profits… Aiming to revolutionize an industry facing severe financial struggles, Bedouin shepherds in Israel have begun to join the world’s first ever Bedouin agricultural co-operative. Following a year of preparations, the Beer Sheva-based Arab-Jewish Center for Equality, Empowerment and Cooperation – Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development (AJEEC-NISPED) launched the Marai Sheep Breeders Cooperative about a month ago.”
- إنطلاق “مراعي” – الجمعية التعاونية لمربي المواشي في النقب (Maan News)
- انطلاق مشروع جمعية ‘مراعي‘ التعاونية في النقب (Panet.co.il)
- انطلاق مشروع “مراعي” لمربي المواشي (LanaTV.co.il)