Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture

Supporting And Encouraging Food Security Within Urban Agriculture Initiatives In Gaza Refugees Camps

On this web page we have placed the Context, Short Project Description and Final Conclusions And Prospects. The complete report can be downloaded here. (PDF) Supporting And Encouraging Food Security Within Urban Agriculture Initiatives In Gaza Refugees Camps

Ahmed Sourani
Director of Projects & External Relations Dept.
Agricultural Development Association (PARC)-Gaza
Gaza, P.O. Box; 225
Tel: +972 (or 970) 8 2805042
Fax: + 972 (or 970) 8 2805039
Mobile:+972 (or 970 ) 599 302 704

1. Context

Urban Agriculture (UA) is the production of food within and at the periphery of cities. It includes any activity associated with growing crops and some forms of livestock in or very near cities for local consumption, either by the producers themselves or by other when food is marketed. It is also associated with organic agriculture and treated wastewater reuse.

The Gaza Strip, where exists a rapid increase of population and expansion of cities and Refugees Camps; a severe limitation of agricultural land; and a high need for safe food, incoming generation activities and improving environment quality; is the suitable place for developing this kind of agriculture and contributing, in this way, to the food security in the area.

2. Short Project Description

The project tries to develop different UA activities in several Refugees Camps in the Gaza Strip: Jabalia Camp (North Area), Nusserait and Al Bureij Camps (Middle Area) and Khan Younis and Rafah Camps (South Area).

The beneficiaries, 81 families in total, have received intensive technical training in different aspects of UA and organic farming and brochures related to it in order to cultivate their own crops in backyards in their houses or small greenhouses (40m2 or 20m2) on their roofs, which have been provided and totally equipped by the own project. Moreover, they have received continuous technical advice during the entire project. Their contribution to the project has been the roof and garden conversion; assistance during the establishment of greenhouses and backyards; and the water supply for irrigation.

The project objective is not only to improve the health, food security, environmental and social situation in these families, but it is a step more in the research for the implantation and proliferation of the Urban Agriculture in the Gaza Strip.

6. Final Conclusions And Prospects

At the moment, Urban Agriculture in the Gaza Strip is characterized by its notable social and nutritional benefits for the population, especially for refugees (target group in the project).

Its social importance lies in the urban agriculture capacity to offer agricultural activities and education in this subject to a population which lost this possibility when they had to leave their lands and arrive at a place where the green spaces are limited and the inactivity very common. In fact, the possibility of cultivating by themselves and to teach the children in it is strongly valued by the project beneficiaries.

Concerning to the nutritional benefits in the families, urban agriculture lets them consume fresh vegetables easily and with high quality in a place where doesn't exist control and regulation about kind and quantity of pesticides in the agriculture. Therefore, its contribution to the food security is very significant and with great potential for all the Gaza Strip.

Supporting and encouraging food security within Urban Agriculture initiatives in Gaza Refugees Camps. Urban Agriculture on top roofs.

In the environmental level, the project didn't have notable negative repercussions. What is more, we can consider present positive impacts since green spaces contribute to clean the air and environmental increased awareness; and potential positive impacts if the compost use is encouraged and the possibility of reuse of treated wastewater is studied. Regarding economic aspect, in order to reach the sustainability of the activities, PARC has designed several strategies which will be developed through the pilot projects.

Until now, we have worked with the strategy 1, that means: an external organization covers the initial greenhouse fixed costs in such a way that the families only have to cover running costs and eventual greenhouse enlargement cost with the productions benefits. This strategy can be directed in the future towards a vegetables selection for assuring total familiar supply in these vegetables (strategy 3) or vegetables selection for selling and income generation (strategy 4). Other strategy, which can be combined with the previous, is to decrease the initial investment (strategy 2).

Moreover, although this project was directed towards growing on the top roof in the refugee camps, there are other kind of urban agriculture activities which can be developed in the Gaza Strip. Pigeon and rabbits breeding on the top roof, for example, is a particularly interesting activity developed by PARC in a pilot project in the refugees camps; and, to establish backyards in other places in Gaza where garden size in the houses is more suitable than in a refugees camp, would contribute to the food security in the families too. Owing to the great urban agriculture potential in the Gaza Strip, PARC aspires to create an Urban Agriculture Research Center to contribute to its consolidation and optimization in the Gaza Strip.

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February 20, 2006

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture