Agricultural pilot project for West Bank and Gaza Strip
$1.5 million provided by Italy for urgent support to the agriculture sector
29 July 2004, Rome -- Around 1 500 farming households in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will benefit from an agricultural pilot project over the next two years, FAO announced today.
The project will be implemented by FAO and funded by Italy with around $1.5 million.
In spite of prevailing constraints, agriculture still plays a major economic and social role in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBGS), providing not only income and employment opportunities for a large share of the population in rural areas but also contributing significantly to food security.
With rising poverty and unemployment, the food security situation in the WBGS has considerably deteriorated over the past three years.
According to a recent FAO report, food insecurity is a reality for 1.4 million people (40 percent of the population) and a near constant worry for an additional 1.1 million people (30 percent) who are under threat of becoming food insecure should prevailing conditions persist.
Support for 12 000 people
"While the political and economic situation remains volatile and unpredictable, the project will develop and test innovative approaches suitable for an urgently needed long-term rehabilitation of agriculture and will minimize the risk in terms of resource utilization," FAO said.
Over the next two years, the project aims at supporting around 12 000 poor people in rural areas of Bethlehem, Hebron, Gaza and Tulkarm. The project will be carried out jointly by FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture.
"Farmers and their families will directly benefit from improved skills, techniques and infrastructure provided by the project," FAO said.
Project activities will include: replanting orchards with improved varieties; replacing greenhouses; installing irrigation systems and providing integrated pest management equipment; planting of vegetables, fodder, olive and fruit trees; renovating animal sheds; rehabilitating rangeland through reseeding, fencing and constructing water points; establishing rainwater harvesting systems; and training the private and public sector in the proper management and sustainable use of inputs and natural resources.
In the medium to longer-term there should be increased investment in agriculture as it creates labour intensive employment, provides a variety of food for promoting dietary diversification, encourages women's participation in the development process and prevents further asset depletion and welfare dependency, FAO said.
Information Officer, FAO
(+39) 06 5705 3105
e-mail this article