The main markets in the West Bank play a vital role as an intermediary between the farmers and the traders. Most of the crops sold in the main markets in the West Bank are brought either locally from the West Bank or from Israel. Although most of the vegetables are available in the West Bank and achieve self- sufficiency, there is still a shortage in the production of fruit and field crops which are brought from the Israeli market.
There is almost one main market in each city of the West Bank, where the crops are sold to the final consumer or to the trader. However, the market chain for these markets is somewhat long, and is heavily dependent on the commissioners. The prices depend entirely on the supply and demand and there is no intervention or regulation to control the prices. The quantity sold in these markets depends on the demand, whereby the wholesalers determine the quantities needed in the market.
The main markets in the West Bank suffer from several problems. One of these problems is the competition with Israeli crops, as they can enter the West Bank market easily due to a lack of regulation. As the Israeli agriculture sector is subsidized by the government, the Israeli crops are sold at lower prices than the local crops, which in turn force the wholesalers and farmers to reduce their own prices. Another problem that faces the main market is seasonality. At high season, the prices are low and sufficient quantities are available, while at low season the prices are high and the quantities are limited. . A further major problem which is faced by the main markets is marketing the crops. The wholesalers cannot market excess crops to other markets such as the export market and they are therefore forced to reduce their prices for the crops to be sold. Closures and checkpoints are also major problems, as wholesalers are unable to sell their crops to other parts of the West Bank or to Israel, forcing them to reduce their prices.
Twenty four types of crops forming around 84% of the total production in the West Bank have been selected for this study. There are eight types of fruit (olive, grape, banana, date, guava, plum, citrus and almond), eleven types of vegetable (tomato, cucumber, eggplant, squash, watermelon, beans, sweet pepper, cabbage, cauliflower, okra and muskmelon) and five types of field crops (wheat, barley, potato, dry onion and garlic). This study has identified the governorates and within them, specific localities, which produce the largest quantities of these crops in terms of production and area.