ACTNews, GAZA – Since the Israeli occupation and blockade, the Palestinian agricultural sector has experienced difficulties. Many farmers' land and assets were destroyed. According to the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), the agriculture sector suffered extensive losses worth USD 204 million.
In the north of the Gaza Strip, one of the largest agricultural input warehouses was destroyed, resulting in the loss of a significant share of inputs needed for production, notably fertilizers and pesticides. Farmers, who were already suffering from a limited supply of electricity that powers essential infrastructure, including pumps for wells, face challenges accessing their farms and markets. This is limiting their ability to resume their agriculture-based livelihoods.
Agriculture is one of the largest economic sectors in Palestine. Based on data compiled by Global Humanity Response-ACT, the agricultural sector employs around 90 percent of the Palestinians in Gaza.
“Agriculture provides job opportunities that save many unemployed families. This sector is part of cultural identity and sustainable job opportunities. However, agriculture's contribution to the Palestinian economy has diminished over the years due to occupation," said Amir Firdaus from the GHR-ACT team, Tuesday (6/22/2021).
One of the farmers whose land was destroyed by the Israeli attack is Atef Muhammad Alhajj Ali. He is a farmer in the Jabalia region, north Gaza. Atef owns 2 thousand square meters of land which belongs to his father. He used the land for olive gardening. However, Israel has razed everything to the ground. “I lost my only source of income,” said Atef, who has been a farmer for 25 years when he was met by ACT volunteers in Gaza some time ago.
Until now, the agricultural sector has great potential to alleviate poverty in Gaza. However, it takes help from all parties to make it happen. Moreover, since the blockade, many resources have been held back, including the need for agriculture.