The agricultural sector accounts for about 8% of the Palestinian GDP. PAPP's support for agricultural development is focused mainly in the West Bank, which is still predominantly a rural area, with an estimated 60% of the population living in about 400 rural villages largely dependent on agriculture and livestock for their livelihood. With the population steadily increasing, and limited employment opportunities, it is essential that production on existing farms be increased and presently uncultivated land be reclaimed and developed. PAPP's assistance is currently focused on:-
- Capacity Building
- Research and Extension
- Land Reclamation and Improvement
- Rangeland Rehabilitation and Management
- Brucellosis Control
- Food Security
- Empowerment of Bedouin Communities
Achievements in Agriculture
- More than 9000 dunums of uncultivated land in the West Bank Districts have been developed. The work has involved clearing of land; building terraces; planting of seedlings; construction of cisterns to harvest water, and extension.
- Approximately 1100 farm families have benefited from this programme to date. Reclamation and development of additional 6000 dunums that will benefit 700 families is currently underway.
- Approximately 170,000 working days have been generated.
- In Gaza, more than 80 ponds used for water-harvesting systems have been installed, benefiting about 50 farm families.
- To enable farmers to improve their cultivation practices and shift from traditional to more profitable crops, 3 existing Agricultural Extension Stations have been upgraded and expanded: 2 in the West Bank (Al-Arroub in Hebron and Beit Qad in Jenin area) and 1 in Gaza (Beit Lahia).
- An Agricultural High School has been rehabilitated and developed with an experimental farm in Al-Arroub in the Hebron District which is now training some 100 students a year, both boys and girls from farm families in better agricultural practices as well as extension work.
- More than 350 dunums of Rangelands in the West Bank have been rehabilitated and their owners provided with advice and training in Rangeland and livestock Management. These programmes have benefited an estimated 30 Farm families.
- A National Brucellosis Control Programme has been completed. This has involved the vaccination of more than 700,000 head of sheep and goats, the primary source of livelihood for the Bedouin; who number about 30000 throughout the West Bank and Gaza, and are among the poorest of the population.
- Well-structured socio-economic database for all beneficiaries of the land development projects has been established.
- The above programmes have helped to increase food production in the West Bank and Gaza significantly, improving food status while also generating foreign exchange through increased exports of fruits and vegetables to Israel and other neighbouring countries.
- The Incidence of Brucellosis in humans as well as in animals has been reduced.
- Poverty has been reduced for a large number of farm families.
- Water availability for agricultural purposes in rural areas has been augmented through water harvesting schemes.
- Thousands of employment opportunities have been generated, both temporary and permanent. Land reclamation and improvement is a highly labour intensive activity and many members of farm families formerly dependent on employment in Israel now find work on the new and improved farms.
- Increase of vegetative cover in an attempt to prevent soil erosion and to combat desertification.
- Sustain traditional skills and knowledge
Support for agricultural development has claimed about US$26 million of PAPP's total resources since the start of the programme. The main donors have been Japan, Spain, the Netherlands, Argentina, Italy, the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), GEF and UNDP core funds.
UNDP and Arab Authority for Agricultural Investment and Development sign agricultural agreement: 12.07.2007
Japan Steps Up its Contribution to the Agricultural Sector in Gaza through UNDP: 02.03.2007