Gaza Farm Rehab Project
|Volume 16, No. 1
Reaps Food and Optimism
The 20-year-old greenhouse on Yusef's modest plot of land in Gaza once provided his large family of ten children with an abundance of fresh vegetables and a steady source of income from the sale of surplus produce. But seasons of wear and tear took their toll on the structure. For three years it sat barren because he had no access to the repair materials needed to make it productive again.
For thousands of farmers like Yusef, the isolation of living in the Gaza Strip and lack of agricultural resources leave them struggling to cultivate their land and feed their families. With significant funding from USAID through the Palestinian Community Assistance program (PCAP), IOCC is helping more than 16,000 impoverished people living in Gaza improve their access to food and an income with agricultural assistance, farming supplies and short-term jobs. IOCC is one of only a very few humanitarian organizations with an established presence in Gaza, providing assistance to destitute Palestinian families living in this underserved and overcrowded slice of land.
IOCC provided Yusef with building supplies, new protective netting and 1,500 tomato seedlings. Now the 66-year-old farmer and his grandsons proudly tend their tomato plants daily in the newly rehabilitated greenhouse. Yusef estimates that their efforts will yield more than 22,000 pounds of tomatoes over the next 6 months. The proceeds from his cash crop will provide seed money to grow more produce, and help his family break free of the cycle of poverty that engulfs so many in Gaza. "My joy," said Yusef, "is that IOCC and its supporters in America have helped me be able to provide for the family."