Gaza's ministry of agriculture celebrated on Sunday the beginning of the date harvest season for this year.
The crop of fresh dates for this season is considered to be very good, with the Gaza Strip expected to produce around 6,500 tons of dates.
Majed Abu-Shammalah, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, further explained: "The area of lands planted with dates is roughly 7,660 dunams. It has around 153,000 palm trees, expected to produce 6,500 tons, which means 1,500 more tons than last year."
The produce covers much of the population's need for both fresh and dried dates.
The Minister of Agriculture in Gaza, Ali Al-Tarshawi, and a number of his ministry's staff attended the celebration with a group of farmers. Al-Tarshawi assured the farmers that he is always supporting them. "The ministry has stopped importing products when local produce can cover the needs of the people," he affirmed.
Al-Tarshawi considers palm planting as part of the ministry's effort to achieve food security in the Strip, even if only partly.
In addition, he noted that: "We aim to create a strategic shift in our agricultural methods and to find viable economic resources for storage in light of the continued siege and the closure of the crossings."
MEMO Photographer: Mohammed Asad