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Source:
1 February 2009



Agricultural Projects in the
West Bank and Gaza Strip
2008


Apis Report
January - December 2008




The data for this report was retrieved from the Agriculture Project Information System (APIS), an information sharing and response monitoring tool for the agricultural sector, to which relevant non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations, community-based organizations, United Nations (UN) Agencies and donors upload details of their projects and developments, creating a comprehensive picture of agricultural interventions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBGS). This report is designed to assist the sector in developing policy, programmes, and projects. APIS is managed by the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and funded by the Spanish Cooperation (AECID). The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) acts as a technical adviser to the MoA and compiles analytical reports for the agricultural sector based on data uploaded in APIS. It is important to note that the MoA aims to have all agricultural-related interventions stored in APIS, and uses this information in creating analytical reports for specific subsectors or areas in WBGS. The success of the database relies on its 169 members to enter project data; FAO and MoA launched a three-month campaign in September 2008 among APIS members to encourage their active uploading of projects implemented in 2008 throughout the WBGS. Therefore, this report examines only those projects that were uploaded in APIS by the end of the campaign (1 December 2008). Additionally, projects studied in this report were those with a complete set of data. Therefore, projects with missing data in major areas, including subsector, activity, district and locality, were not analyzed. Accuracy of information provided in APIS remains the responsibility of its members.

27 February 2009, FAO Jerusalem


Executive Summary

According to APIS, over USD 36 million, via 1 107 interventions, were devoted to helping vulnerable WBGS farmers, herders, and fishers in 2008. Most agricultural projects (89%) targeted areas in the WB, owing to access issues and closure of imports and exports into the Gaza Strip since June 2007. For every one dollar spent on agricultural interventions in the GS, seven were spent in the WB. However, some areas in the WB were under-represented, specifically Jerusalem (5%), Bethlehem (5%) and Jericho (1.9%) in terms of the share of interventions. With regard to the GS, interventions were split evenly among the districts expect for Deir Al Balah, where only 8.4% of the activities were implemented.

· Across the WBGS, roughly one-fifth of projects focused on revitalizing plant production and irrigation, yet, this subsector warrants additional funding after experiencing two years of severe drought, a frost and snowfall in January 2008, destruction due to armed conflict, and land confiscation by Israeli settlements.

· Additionally, the same factors affect the livestock production subsector, which comprised 13.9% of all interventions in 2008. The total amount spent on these critically-deprived subsectors was only USD 5 million.

· Although there is a severe need for infrastructure construction and rehabilitation, owing to countless demolitions and destruction of agricultural roads and water networks by Israeli forces, the number of agricultural related infrastructure projects made up only 5.1% of all interventions. This comes despite its consumption of the largest percentage (43.5%) of expended cost for 2008. However, the funds add up to a mere USD 16 million. Less than one percent of infrastructure projects provided assistance to water networks.

· Finding ways to conserve and provide access to water is of high priority for the sector. Over USD 4.8 million was spent on the water resources subsector through 163 interventions.

· Palestinians are faced with the consequences of land confiscation as a result of the Separation Wall and Israeli settlements, and endure asset loss owing to incursions and airstrikes. Over USD 8.6 million, divided almost equally between land reclamation/rehabilitation and land reclamation through the building of retaining walls, was organized to help affected Palestinian protect their livelihoods via land projects.

· With an increasing number of agricultural employees out-of-work, job creation programmes help to not only sustain livelihoods in the agricultural sector but also contribute to fighting poverty and hunger. However, only USD 1.1 million was spent on a total of 45 activities to employ farmers.

· A good portion of interventions (17.5%) included capacity building for farmers in project strategies. It proves to be one of the most cost effective measures for improving the agricultural sector by comprising only one percent of the total amount spent in 2008 (USD 368 263). Most activities concentrated on training farmers on plant production and protection, representing nearly 60% of total activities.

As the WBGS tries to cope with climate change, rising food prices, increasing food insecurity, and depreciating value of production, agriculture institutions can benefit greatly from projects committed to repairing this subsector that only received USD 172 000 in 2008. Moreover, no activities helped to construct or rehabilitate structures of agricultural institutions.

Still, other subsectors received less focus: home gardening, institutional building, job creation, machinery & equipments, marketing, and private sector development subsectors each represent less than five percent of the total interventions.

For years, the agricultural community in WBGS has been severely affected by land confiscation and lack of access to arable and fishing areas, plus destruction of assets caused by armed conflict. In 2008, a severe drought and destructive frost produced additional hardship for farmers. Moreover, the high cost of production prevents many farmers from turning profits and puts livelihoods at-risk. These combined factors impede the sector’s ability to thrive and achieve its potential in a traditionally agro-cultural area. As a vital economic sector, agriculture has a long success rate in generating economic growth. For most poverty-stricken communities in the WBGS, agriculture remains an important source of income and provides means to affordable fresh foods. Investment in agriculture provides a reliable means of providing sustainable development at a relatively low cost compared to other sectors.

Implications of the report for the sector

Outputs of this report can assist the sector to develop cohesive policy and planning strategies for 2009-2010 and beyond, and can be evaluated in comparison with the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan (PRDP). The donor community particularly can evaluate the effectiveness of aid distribution in the agriculture sector. The analysis shows which subsectors, activities, and districts are receiving the most attention and which are being overlooked. Vulnerable areas and communities most in need are easily identified, along with funding gaps. Additionally, it draws attention to projects that successfully addressed the critical needs of the sector. Essentially, the information stored in APIS and highlighted in this report assesses the needs of the agriculture sector based on official data, without additional cost or risk to stakeholders.


Complete document in PDF format (Requires Acrobat Reader)

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