Development aid provides critical assistance for countries around the world. It helps create long-term plans to alleviate health crises, promote economic growth, ensure the availability of essential resources and help communities progress and flourish.
One of the ways aid can help is through establishing agricultural programs. Farming in Palestine is the largest sector of the economy. According to the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), agriculture employs 13.4 percent of the population formally, though informally it employs about 90 percent of those who work. In Gaza, agriculture offers life-saving job opportunities in a region rife with unemployment. And in the West Bank, where farming has been a way of life since ancient times, agriculture makes up an integral part of cultural identity. It also offers opportunities for stable employment and sustainability.
Yet the contributions of agriculture to the Palestinian economy have diminished over the years. Before 1967, the agricultural sector was responsible for more than 50 percent of Palestine’s gross domestic product, according to a report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCATD). In the 1980s, that percentage dropped to about 30 percent, and in recent years it has plummeted to 5.6 percent. Agricultural yields in Palestine also remain low in comparison to those in other regions. Despite nearly identical soil and climatic conditions, yields in Palestine are about half of those seen in Jordan and only 43 percent of those produced in Israel.
For these reasons, agricultural improvements are critical to creating more livable conditions in Palestine in the years to come. In this article, we’ll lay out some recent developments in Palestine agriculture and explain how agricultural aid programs offer vital opportunities for further growth.
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- American Near East Refugee Aid
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