FAO/M. El Shattali

Dinner on the roof

24/09/2012

Urban aquaponic systems have proven to be successful in providing an environmentally sustainable solution to ensure food and nutrition security and to protect the livelihoods of the most vulnerable.

In the Gaza Strip, families are struggling to put food on the table every day. The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with 4,073 capita per square kilometre. Traditionally dependant on agriculture and fisheries, today, the local population has limited access to agricultural land and fishing areas, due to the ongoing conflict.

Additionally, the blockade imposed in June 2007 has caused food prices to soar and prevents imports of basic inputs for food production, such as seeds, water pumps, fishing nets, spare engine parts and veterinary drugs.  In 2011, half of the population was reported as food insecure, with an average of one breadwinner for every 10 people, and children being exposed to rising levels of acute malnutrition and stunted growth. Environmental challenges, such as water shortages, have made the life of Gaza’s inhabitants even more precarious.

In July 2010, FAO launched a project to improve the food security of families, with the support of the Kingdom of Belgium. Four women’s associations and a local NGO - Palestine Tomorrow for Social Development (PTSD) - worked jointly with FAO to support vulnerable urban families, mostly female-headed, to setup small sustainable food production activities, in order to combat poverty and malnutrition and reach self-sufficiency.