Sun, 04 Jun 2023

© Provided by Xinhua

Hamdouna noted that 15 years ago, he fell into a dire situation due to workforce shortage, and he had to sell some of his 30-dunam farms to make ends meet, and kept only about seven dunams as a family lifeline, a portion that was still expensive to take care of due to high diesel prices.

"The production cost was very high, while the sales were insignificant, which lead to huge losses," lamented the man, noting that this prompted all his children to not follow his suit.

Hamdouna grows many crops, including tomato, cucumber, strawberry, melon, guava, and many others, which take much time to plant and harvest.

One of the modern farming methods he applied was hanging strawberry, a method for saving space, making room for other types of berries. Another one is the use of renewable energy and rainwater.

© Provided by Xinhua

Hamdouna's farm is one of the two pilot projects recently launched in the Gaza Strip.

"The aim of establishing these two farms is to reduce environmental risks and achieve sustainable development without leading to a state of environmental degradation," Noha al-Sharif, public relations officer at the Palestinian Agricultural Relief Society, told Xinhua, adding modern farming may help strengthen the resilience of Gaza residents.

Farm administrators were also exploring agri-tourism, as a rest stop was set up hanging over the branches of a sycamore tree that is more than 50 years old.

Mustafa al-Rifi, the engineer supervising the project, told Xinhua that "the rest stop takes approximately 50 percent of the overall profit of the farm, as domestic tourists prefer to spend their time in nature," he added.

Muhammad Suleiman, one of the farmers, told Xinhua that he could finally get a permanent job that helps him to feed his family.

© Provided by Xinhua

The 38-year-old father of four added that he earns about 100 dollars per week, which is enough for his daily expenses, a huge hike from less than 40 dollars during the past, when he had to apply for food aid.

He expressed his hope to see more creative initiatives and projects implemented to help thousands of farmers go back to their former jobs.

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