Today, restrictions on access to arable land and the sea, the destruction of boats and greenhouses, high prices of goods, the contraction of the local market and the prohibition of trade with the West Bank, Israel and abroad, led to the almost total destruction of the agricultural sector in the Gaza Strip.
Mansour Al Budi, strawberry farmer in Gaza, April 14, 2013
“I am 43 years old and I have grown strawberries for 24 years. I started in the 70s, during the “red gold” period when strawberries were selling very well in the European market. I used to grow 3000 dunums[i] of strawberries then, but now I cannot grow more than 800, due to the closure of the crossing points, higher input prices and the lower cost for strawberries. Plus, I’m in competition with Egypt, Tunisia and Spain, despite the high quality of my strawberries! Because of the war, the blockade and the competition, I now grow tomatoes for the local market, because it helps to balance the loss of strawberries. Otherwise, I’d have to sell my land.”
Gazan farmers and fishermen rely increasingly on humanitarian aid, in the form of money or food, to meet the needs of their families. Projects to support the continuation of agriculture in Gaza have been implemented by Action Against Hunger to protect the livelihoods of farmers. However, because of the 6 year blockade, Gazans will require continued long-term support through donations.
Through the testimonies of farmers and fishermen in Gaza, this ACF report highlights the difficulties associated with maintaining sustainable farming and fishing while the blockade remains in place.
With this in mind, Action Against Hunger requests:
- The total lifting of the blockade, which affects the entire population of Gaza, and the free movement of people and goods between Gaza and Israel, the West Bank and abroad.
- The establishment of long-term sustainable financing strategies, which includes the development of agriculture.
- Support for the implementation of a strategy that promotes the development of agriculture, which includes the optimal use of resources and expertise currently available in Gaza.
The current situation in the Palestinian territories is characterized by a political stalemate and Israel’s military occupation. Land fragmentation and political division between Fatah and Hamas continue to undermine the government, and weaken social cohesion. In addition, trade restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities are still affecting the economy and result in Palestinian dependency on foreign aid.
ACF has been in the Palestinian Territories since 2002, helping this vulnerable population meet their needs for water and sanitation, food security and nutrition.
City Council of Barcelona
- Number of beneficiaries: 158,873
- Population: 4.15 million inhabitants
- Life expectancy: 72.8 years
- Human Development Index: 0.641 (114/187)
[i] 1 dunum = 1 000 m2