Greenhouse Rehabilitation in Gaza Strip

SEADS Handbook Location: Chapter 7

Following the 2014 massive destruction and the fierce war, households in Gaza Strip faced reduced resilience capacity. Specifically, the adaptive capacity of households was reduced and the dependency on humanitarian aid increased. One of the links between conflict and food security is agricultural production. Access to land and agricultural assets, if weakened because of conflict, may affect farmers’ food production as well as their resilience capacity. Out of the 200 greenhouses visited by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), 84 were selected for support because they were in urgent need of rehabilitation, as the season was approaching and they were highly affected by the conflict. Furthermore, their owners were in a bad economic situation, which hindered them from rehabilitating their greenhouses by themselves.

The following results were obtained: 84 greenhouses were rehabilitated in four border-area communities by ICRC. Greenhouses became more resilient, as a build back-better approach was followed. None of the interviewed farmers reported that they faced any problems with or damage to their greenhouses due to the strong winds in the winter season. Each farmer achieved an average increase in income of 2,000 Israeli new shekels (ILs) (600 USD) over the first agriculture season, as the quality of the products produced improved and a higher quantity of sales was achieved. Farmers stated that rehabilitating their greenhouses enabled them to harvest fresh rainwater for the irrigation of salt-sensitive vegetables, an important crop usually cultivated in the region. Doing so increased the diversity of their products, which led to better marketing and higher profits. Farmers also reported an average decrease in seasonal maintenance expenses by 50%, which is equivalent to 4,500 ILs (1,300 USD) per 1000 square meters (one dunum) of greenhouse as these expenses were covered by ICRC and will last for two years at least. Farmers reported an average decrease in pesticide use of 75% due to the better fitting of greenhouses. Farmers showed their high appreciation of and satisfaction with the ICRC intervention. The interviewees expressed their gratitude for the high quality and sufficient quantity, according to the assessment. They also expressed that this intervention came at the best time, before the greenhouse cultivation season. Some farmers proposed that instead of installing the materials, ICRC could distribute them and the farmers could install the materials themselves. A side effect of the intervention was that 12 workers got temporary jobs for 35 days. Each one of them received 2,800 ILs (800 USD) in income, which contributed to enhancing their current income and improving their living conditions, as they didn’t have any other income opportunities. The unemployment rate in Gaza Strip exceeded 52% among youth.

ICRC (2016). EcoSec review report ILot Gaza greenhouse rehabilitation project. ICRC. https://seads-standards.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Asia_04-ICRC-ILOT-Greenhouse-rehabilitation.pdf.