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Gaza agricultural sector develops despite aggression and blockade

Two women in Gaza have taken to agriculture to harvest broccoli for sale in the local market in an effort to overcome the besieged enclave's rising poverty levels [Mohmmad Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Two women in Gaza have taken to agriculture to harvest broccoli for sale in the local market in an effort to overcome the besieged enclave's rising poverty levels [Mohmmad Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Gaza agricultural sector has continued to struggle and develop amid Israel's repeated attacks and ongoing blockade, The Palestine Information Centre reports.

The agricultural sector in Gaza contributes up to 6 per cent of the Gross National Product (GNP), with a value of $430 million.

The Gaza agricultural sector consumes about 300,000 cups of water per day, with a total of 100 million cubic meters annually, which constitutes nearly 50 per cent of the annual consumption.

In an interview with the PIC reporter, Director-General of Policies and Planning at the Ministry of Agriculture, Wael Thabet, said that there are approximately 180,000 dunums of actual agricultural lands in the Gaza Strip.

The agricultural crop area is about 220,000 dunums, with vegetable production constituting 54 per cent of the agricultural production, he added.

About 55,000 Palestinians work in agricultural and other connected professions, Thabet continued.

Thabet also pointed out that the Gaza Strip produces about 4,700 tons of fish annually.

Gaza agricultural sector priorities

The Director-General of Policies and Planning at the Ministry of Agriculture affirmed that his Ministry is keen to achieve self-sufficiency in agricultural produce by protecting the Palestinian farmer and preventing the importation of any competitive products.

"We are working to improve the local agricultural production in local and foreign markets," he continued.

Damage to Gaza's agricultural sector

Gaza's agricultural sector sustained over US1.3 billion in damage during the Israeli attacks on the besieged Strip since 2006, Thabet said.

He elaborated on the challenges facing the agricultural sector in Gaza Strip topped by the repeated Israeli aggressions and siege followed by the limited area for cultivation, soaring production costs and high water salinity in addition to its scarcity.

READ: Gaza farmers prepare to export olive oil to Gulf

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