EU provides € 11.45 million to support Palestinian farmers and herders including Bedouin communities
Press Release - European Union
The European Union (EU) is partnering with four organizations in the field of agriculture: Agricultural Development Association (PARC), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), Oxfam Italy and the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), to continue its work in the fields of olive production and livestock. The four projects – which started in 2013 with a total budget of €11.45 million - are fully in line with the 'Agriculture Sector Strategy: A Shared Vision' developed by the PA Ministry of Agriculture with the support of the donor community. They will take place in the West Bank as well as the Gaza Strip with particular focus on some of the most vulnerable communities.
In partnership with UAWC, the EU will work with small-scale farmers producing olive and olive-oil in Tulkarem, Salfit and Qalqiliya to develop an efficient management for their businesses. Building on successful work from previous years, the focus is on producing high quality olive oil at reduced cost and increasing access to local and foreign markets. The project will enhance the participation of women farmers by developing their know-how in niche areas of production (e.g.: production of olive soap and olive cosmetics). In addition, in partnership with PARC, the EU will develop pilot farms for producing high quality olives in larger quantities in accordance with international standards. More than 10,000 Palestinian farmers will also benefit from comprehensive guidelines to improve grove productivity and olive oil quality.
"Palestinian agriculture, and olive oil production in particular, is one the most significant components of the Palestinian economy. Olive oil production is not just a source of income for Palestinian families but has traditionally become the means towards social development. Families in villages across the West Bank and Gaza were able to raise and educate their children from this income", said the EU Representative, Mr. John Gatt-Rutter. "In this way the EU is also able to support the most vulnerable herders' communities, especially Bedouins in the West Bank, who have limited access to natural resources such as water and land".
Households that base their livelihoods on livestock production are among the most food insecure in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In an effort to go beyond emergency interventions and achieve a long-term, sustainable improvement of herders' livelihoods, FAO – with the support of the EU – will work with the Ministry of Agriculture to improve the delivery of services to herders associations' and effectively support a market-oriented development. Bedouin communities active in so-called 'pastoral' farming will be specifically targeted, through the EU's work with Oxfam Italy, by ensuring that these hitherto marginalized communities are better represented in the decision-making process.
Agriculture is an important sector of the Palestinian economy due to its share of GDP, its contribution to total exports, and as provider of both long-term and temporary employment. Agriculture remains a vehicle for improving food security, driving economic growth, and – significantly – can be a shock absorber for the population in times of crisis.
The EU has consistently supported Palestinian rural development – with particular attention to the most vulnerable population. The olive and olive-oil sub-sector, the development of alternative sources of water for agricultural use such as the treatment of waste water and the harvesting of rain water as well as the livestock sector are among the main areas of intervention. Since 2011 - through its food security programme - the EU has invested € 30 million in development cooperation in these areas.
The Office of the European Union Representative Antonia Zafeiri, Tel:+972 (0) 2 5415 859, Mob: 054 8024 915 Shadi Othman, Tel:+972 (0) 2 541 5867, Mob: 0599 673 958 http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/westbank/