The Palestinian ministry of agriculture in Gaza is seeking self-sufficiency in citrus fruits after years of devastating Israeli attacks on farms and farmers, an official has told MEMO. According to Director of Farming Mohamed Abu-Odeh, the ministry expects Gaza to produce 28,000 tons of citrus fruits by the end of the season, despite the severe shortage of water for irrigation.
At the beginning of the second Intifada in 2000, the Israeli occupation forces started to raze citrus and olive farms across the Gaza Strip, claiming that they were used to hide weapons and fighters. Farmers and theirs farms still fall victim to Israeli attacks and incursions on a regular basis.
The ministry, said Abu-Odeh, is planning to dig new wells and set up desalination plants in order to have access to much-needed water to irrigate new citrus farms. He noted that this is very expensive, but essential if the self-sufficiency target is to be achieved. Given stability and water, added Abu-Odeh, this should be in about two years.