The UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Gaza has set up a project addressing Gaza’s food insecurity, reports The Star. Where a buffer zone now stands on former agricultural land, farming has disappeared. As the Gaza Strip becomes increasingly crowded, sharing the urban crowding prevalent in the Middle East, feeding its population is becoming a serious issue.
This problem is being addressed in other countries, such as Egypt, with a model for hydroponic and small livestock gardens where vegetables, chickens and rabbits are raised for private consumption and for sale.
Chris Somerville, an agronomist and urban agriculture consultant with the UN, says:
“One of the major reasons this is an applicable method in Gaza is the effectiveness with water use. When you are talking about aquaponic or hydroponic or any form of soilless agriculture, you’re using less than 20 per cent of the amount of water.”
Abu Ahmed, 51, lives in a six-story Gaza City apartment building. He farms lettuce, tomatoes, herbs, cabbage and onions on the roof top.
“My father and my grandfather were farmers — we were always farmers. But we have no land now,” he says. “Now, I love to work on this farm. The vegetables are much better than the ones in the market, and they are just upstairs from my home — I can pick them anytime.”
With 15 aquaponic farms set up in Gaza City and more being planned, Somerville is optimistic that this method will prove a substantial, sustainable way to ensure Gaza’s food security.
Other organizations are involved in aiding Gaza’s food supply. 2000 families have received DIY food-gardening systems via the Cooperative Housing Foundation, a U.S. organization. The systems include everything, from the small but crucial seeds to large equipment like water tanks, irrigation pipes, tools, and compost. Families who prefer to raise small livestock have received rabbits or chickens. All the families receive training to manage their new farms.
As Moahmed Sharef, a representative of the organization remarks, “It’s definitely more sustainable than food vouchers.”
More Hopeful News About Middle East Rooftop Gardening:
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- What Urban Rooftop Gardening Could Do For The Middle East
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