UAWC reclaims thousands of dunums of land for 24 thousand beneficiaries in 2018
UAWC issued a brief report of its annual work for the year 2018, highlighting the most important achievements. In total, it has implemented 31 projects, including 19 in the West Bank and 12 in the Gaza Strip, benefiting 24,054 farmers, 13,225 of whom are in the West Bank and 10,829 in the Gaza Strip. The beneficiaries compromised of individual farmers, agricultural and women's cooperatives, new graduates, and disadvantaged households. The report also stated that through agricultural land reclamation and development projects, UAWC rehabilitated and reclaimed 3,290 dunums of land, thus benefiting 1012 farmers. 1,550 dunums of the reclaimed lands included land levelling, construction of retaining walls and planting seedlings as well, benefiting 450 farmers in the West Bank. In addition, 1,740 dunums of rehabilitated lands were planted with fruit trees. As for water resources development and management, the report pointed out that the number of beneficiaries for this activity reached 2,934 farmers, including 2,048 in the Gaza Strip and 886 farmers in the West Bank, in addition to 5,000 residents of Salfit city who benefited from the ‘Matwi’ Spring that was rehabilitated for drinking. On another front, UAWC worked on transferring water to irrigate 6,173 dunums of land. The land was cultivated with rainfed crops by installing 30,300 meters of main irrigation lines in order to supply 744,800 meters of secondary irrigation networks. The agricultural water facilities that were installed during the year have a storage capacity of 28,125 m3. The report also drew attention to the agricultural roads that were built and rehabilitated in different areas and communities of 144.25 km, thereby benefiting more than 1,800 farmers. Moreover, 946 farmers, owning 1,000 dunums of land, successfully adopted new agricultural techniques for climate change adaptation. In its report, UAWC referred to its rehabilitation of fishing and motor boats, distribution of new fishing nets and tools, and creation of various employment opportunities, benefitting 1,531 fishermen as a result. Moreover, 2,669 farmers benefited from the provision of veterinary support and guidance, and the establishment of 246 sheep pens. UAWC has also implemented a project directed towards university graduates in agricultural specialties. As such, twenty-two interventions were implemented as part of the project, as it was designed to order to help solve unemployment challenges among graduates. In the Gaza Strip, UAWC implemented emergency response projects by providing 6,500 work days, benefiting 260 workers. In the context of combating poverty, UAWC distributed 10,675 food parcels as part of the fresh food basket project, benefiting 2,135 low-income families. Furthermore, many activities were implemented within the framework of the protection of agricultural resources and land to strengthen the steadfastness and sovereignty of farmers on their land. Hence, activities carried out under this theme included assessing agricultural lands threatened with confiscation in order to assist with registration, in addition to legal awareness activities. Concerning the National Municipal Seed Bank established by UAWC in 2003, the report indicated that during the year 2018, the seed bank remained diligent in its efforts to produce and distribute local seeds to farmers, intended to promote and disseminate the use of local seeds on a large scale. Consequently, these activities promoted and raised awareness regarding the work of the seed bank, as the number of beneficiaries during the year was 2444 farmers. Lastly, Mr. Fuad Abu Saif, the Director General of UAWC, underscored that these figures and stated achievements substantiate UAWC’s right to support the steadfastness of the Palestinian farmer and to continue its development work in the Palestinian territories. Mr. Abu Saif added that incitement campaigns launched by Israeli settlers and supported by the Israeli government will not impede UAWC’s commitment to continue its work on the ground, as guaranteed by all international conventions.