Strengthening the livelihoods of Palestinians through agriculture in the West Bank
The agricultural sector, considered the cornerstone of Palestinian economic development, has not been able to play its strategic role because of the dispossession of land and the denial of access to agricultural areas, water resources, domestic and external markets as a result of the Israeli occupation system.
According to KAIROS’ West Bank partner, the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees (DSPR) – also a member of the International Christian Committee in Jerusalem (ICC), agriculture is the largest sector of the Palestinian economy, generating 22-30% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the West Bank and Gaza and providing employment to over 15% of the population. However, Palestinian agriculture is far from flourishing.
KAIROS has been supporting DSPR’s agriculture program for over 10 years now. The program seeks to strengthen agricultural conditions for farmers in the West Bank by improving vital water supplies such as water pipelines and reservoirs to farmers, construction and rehabilitation of agriculture roads, provision of greenhouses with irrigation systems, and some processing machinery to farmers.
These projects are contributing to DSPR’s goals to support Palestinian communities to better manage and preserve natural resources and protect environment by enhancing ownership and access to water resources. They are also enhancing the focus on women’s empowerment, enhancing their skills with access to resources to better sustain themselves economically.
In this recent video produced by DSPR, farmers who are participating in DSPR’s agricultural program talk about the significant impacts of the rehabilitation of agriculture roads in the West Bank and how it is enabling farmers to access their land, enhancing agricultural production and productivity, and contributing to food security.
In November 2019, a KAIROS Church Leaders Delegation travelled to Palestine and Israel and met with women’s groups, civil society organizations, human rights groups and religious and community leaders both in Palestine and Israel. Rev. Susan Johnson, one of the delegates, wrote her reflections after visiting some community development and infrastructure projects – including DSPR’s rehabilitation programs, and walking down agricultural roads like one described in the video.
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