Restoring the Livelihoods of Marginalized Farmers in Southern Gaza

Another Successful Year of Our Gaza Farmers Project Has Come to an End

The second year of our project restoring the livelihoods of farmers in Gaza was successfully completed by the end of 2021. Returning their land and greenhouses back to productivity, these farmers regained their independence with a regular income to support their families again.

 

In 2021 this project worked with 195 farmers, to restore their land and greenhouses.

The key achievements of this project are as follows:

  • 160 farmers were able to restore their land (open fields) back to productivity
  • 320 dunums of agricultural land was restored and replanted (1 dunum = 1000 sq. meters)
  • 35 farmers’ greenhouses were rehabilitated and replanted
  • 195 farmers in total returned to being self-reliant and regained their independence
  • 110 unemployed labourers were given an opportunity to work on this project
  • 5,500 working days were created for these workers during the project

 

The project team and technical experts worked with the farmers to clear & plough the land, lay the irrigation pipes and plant the new crops and fruit trees. To enable a more regular income intercropping techniques were used, so that while waiting for the fruit trees to develop (which can take a few years), the famers will plant crops such as herbs and vegetables which will grow quickly and can harvested and sold in a short period of time. Throughout the project many types of crops were sown and harvested, including: zucchini, melons, peppers, aubergines, corn, watermelon, tomatoes, cabbage, onions, potatoes, radish, cucumber, parsley, and other herbs.

 

In all, over 1,000 tonnes of vegetables were harvested and sold by the farmers in this project in a year! The crops were also interspersed and supplemented with 9,600 fruit trees, which will help farmers to sustain their incomes into the future, including: olive, citrus, peach, apricot, and Annona (custard apple) trees. The project was able to raise the average monthly income of farmers by 30.5% for open field farmers, and by 52% for greenhouse farmers. In addition, farmers were equipped with upgraded skills and equipment to help them in the coming planting seasons, including: drip irrigation networks, solar steam sterilization equipment, Integrated Pest Management techniques and direct connections to markets and consumers. After the project, 92.3% of farmers had already replanted their land for the following season, with the remaining farmers waiting to plant their rainfed crops later in the season.

 

This project also worked with a women’s cooperative within the local community to expand and develop their capacity. The cooperative bulk bought some of the farmers freshly harvested crops and processed and packaged them so they could be sold in other markets outside of the local community. The cooperative in Rafah, South of Gaza, was able to increase its physical capacity with the assistance of a local marketing expert, who helped them expand and diversify their range from one product to seven. While the project team also provided a range of new tools and equipment. This enabled the cooperative to expand and created further job opportunities for six more women. The marketing expert provided on-the job training and technical workshops, which gave training on drying and packaging the fruit and vegetables professionally using the new equipment, and marketing and advertising to reach new markets. The project enabled the women’s cooperative to target mass sellers outside of the local neighbourhood, and they succeeded in opening new marketing channels with five shopping malls in Gaza! A new marketing channel for the farmers crops and five new buyers for the co-operative’s products!

 

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