European Heads of Cooperation in Jerusalem and Ramallah visited yesterday Qalqilya Governorate where they met the Governor, Ministry of Agriculture officials, community representatives, projects’ implementing partners, and beneficiaries.
The delegation discussed the overall situation in the Governorate and visited a number of agriculture projects illustrative of European Development Partners’ articulated effort to strengthen institutions and promote an integrated, multi-sectoral, multi-stakeholder approach in agriculture sector.
Governor Major General Rafeh Rawajbeh, Ministry of Agriculture, and community representatives outlined the impact of the Israeli policy and practices in Area C on the socio-economic development of the Governorate and briefed the European Development Partners on the opportunities of the largely unexplored potential, in particular regarding agriculture and agro-industry.
In Habla village, Agriculture Ministry officials briefed the delegation on the implementation progress of what consists of the first agriculture economic cluster in the Governorate and continued the visit to a model farm of tropical fruits. With a total area of 11000 square meters, this is one of the pioneer experiences of a tropical fruits culture in Palestine, funded by the Netherlands, through the Food and Agriculture Organization.
In Nabi Elyas village, the delegation visited the site of a water reservoir and irrigation system thanks to which the farming area will be expanded and the productivity will increase.
The project is funded by Spain and implemented by Fundación Promoción Social, Palestinian Agricultural Development Association, and Rural Women Development Society.
At its last stop in Jayus village, the European Delegation visited avocado and tomato farms within the seam zone area, an isolated Palestinian enclave behind the separation wall. Those farmers received financial support from the EU through the Ministry of Agriculture and the Palestinian Agricultural Disaster Risk Reduction and Insurance Fund.
The visit provided the delegation with a snapshot of the challenges with which farmers, cooperatives, and private companies are faced up in Area C.
The European cooperation with its support to the agriculture sector in Palestine addresses important challenges related to fair and sustainable access to land and water, access to finance for private investors, and the implementation of public policies and investments. Working in close partnership with the national and local authorities, the European cooperation aims at promoting innovative solutions, accelerating the implementation of the agriculture economic clusters, creating jobs, and mobilizing capital and local know-how.
This support aims at upholding Palestinian rights by strengthening institutions, increasing participation of women and youth, promoting green jobs and digital technologies while preserving the viability of the two-state solution.
Area C is part of the occupied Palestinian territory and an integral part of any viable future Palestinian state.
The European Development Partners support the Palestinian Authority in its effort to develop Area C and also support locally the Palestinian communities.
All European development cooperation activities in the West Bank are fully in line with international humanitarian law and all humanitarian assistance to communities in need in Area C is in accordance with the humanitarian imperative.
The European Development Partners are currently working together on the basis of the European Joint Strategy in Support of Palestine 2017-2020. The strategy provides support to the areas of Governance, Rule of Law, Justice, Citizen Safety and Human Rights, Sustainable Service Delivery, Water and Energy Services, and Economic Development.
The European partners evaluate annually the progress of their support to and cooperation with Palestine through technical and policy dialogue with the Palestinian Authority, following consultations with civil society representatives. Results at the project level are monitored and evaluated regularly in line with the contractually established mechanisms.