Strengthening sustainable livelihoods: Supporting the rural population
Title: Strengthening Sustainable Livelihoods in Rural Areas
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Palestinian Territories
Lead executing agency: Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture
Overall term: 2018 to 2021
Around three quarters of all rural households in the Palestinian territories engage in agriculture as a secondary activity. As a result, agriculture is not only an important pillar of economic development, but also contributes significantly to securing the livelihoods of the rural population. Agricultural production is one way of earning additional income, and also serves as a social security system. However, this safety net is under threat: advancing climate change is changing precipitation patterns and increasing the frequency of extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and frost. In addition, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank since 1967 has contributed to insufficient security of supply and limited access to infrastructure and resources. This applies particularly in rural areas, the so-called ‘Area C’, which is under full Israeli administration and makes up 60 per cent of the total area of the West Bank.
The livelihoods of the Palestinian population in rural areas in the West Bank have been secured. This is counteracting migration from the countryside to towns and cities, improving food security and reinforcing the social fabric.
Improved planning and advisory services for strengthening the sustainable livelihoods of the rural population: The project supports employees of the Ministry of Agriculture in the areas of advisory services and planning at local and regional levels. The focus is on the development and implementation of local development concepts that serve as planning tools for promoting rural areas. In this context, the project is integrating land-use plans, risk maps and recommendations for risk reduction, plans for managing the protection and use of natural resources, and analyses of the economic potential of local agriculture. Employees are also being trained on improved irrigation practices and technologies, adapted agriculture, sustainable rainfed agriculture and access to markets.
Increasing agricultural productivity: Training and advisory formats promote the ability of agricultural producers to implement efficient water use techniques and good agricultural practices. The provision of infrastructure such as cisterns, storage reservoirs, water tanks and similar equipment aims to increase the availability of water for agricultural land – particularly in Area C.
Higher incomes and better employment opportunities in rural areas: The project primarily supports young people with university degrees and women’s groups in expanding their business development skills. The aim is to identify opportunities for generating income – particularly in agriculture and in upstream and downstream sectors – and fostering entrepreneurship. This includes both the implementation of practical training courses on the integration of planning, processing and access to markets, as well as advisory support for individual groups over the course of the project.