Farming in Gaza - PhMuseum

Farming in Gaza

Jost Franko

In the land from where the eyes can see the Israeli border, Palestinian farmers try to make their living producing agricultural goods such as strawberries, oranges, grapefruits, olives, various vegetables, etc. After blockade in 2007 their products are only sold in their occupied land.

Due to the restrictions on cultivating land in the area, the annual loss for the farmers of the Gaza Strip is about 50 million dollars, leaving the lives and livehoods of the residents directly affected. Although nowadays some items are allowed being exported, the exported amount is ten times lower than before the blockade – in 2012 only 9 million stems of carnations were exported from Gaza during the flower season, the number before the blockade was around 50 million.

But is not just the blockade, it's also war torn life around the border, where Palestinian farmers try to produce their supplies. Places like as Rafah, Khan Younis and Beit Hanoun, known more as front lines and land where most of missiles are fired, houses destroyed and where the most lives are taken. Abu Daqqa family's house and farmland are located only about 300 meters from the border. Children play on their playground at the rooftop of their house, under the watchful eyes of Israeli snipers. Mohammed's wife Jihan, a law graduate does the house work and take care of the kids, while the work at the farm is mostly done by the father. Mohammed says that all their workers that used to help, left, so he has to do all work by himself: "They are afraid, the area is considered too dangerous."

Qudaih family, famers who live right at the buffer zone in Khan Younis, make their living by producing agricultural products and selling them to the local market. Father Eyad still cannot forget the war in 2012. "Children ran to me, just before the rocket hit their bedroom," Eyad Qudiah remembers. "If they stayed in the room, they would have been all dead." He says his wife was pregnant with twin boys, in her sixth month, and had a miscarriage the night of the bombing.

Israeli army bulldozing the farmland and sniper fire are nothing new to them and their families. More than 35% of Gazas agricultural land is in so-called "buffer zone" or access restricted area. It officially extends 300 metres into the Gaza Strip, however, in reality, it can extend up to 1,500 metres from the fence, and is enforced with lethal force. Some areas in the south have been almost completely wiped out.

Agriculture together with West Bank used to bring 80% percent export but the ban devastated Gazan economy to the lowest point and also getting supplies such as fuel and electricity is strictly regulated by Israel. As a result domestic production has also fallen. In addition that, is also the little water that is available is heavily polluted from uncontrolled sewage and fertilisers, making only 10 percent of the water fit for consumption.

In southern Gaza Strip in Rafah, close to Egyptian border, and older women named Ghanma Jbara, lives in a shelter home on the ruins of her house, that was demolished in 2006. It happened right after an Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnaped in late June from that area.  "I cannot abandon it," she is refuses to move away from her land: "It is all I have," says an older lady, making a tea near the rubbles of her home.

{{ readMoreButton }}

  • A tree is seen in a farm in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Palestine, on Nov. 6th 2013.

    A tree is seen in a farm in Rafah.

  • Medhat Hamad's grandchild, lays on the ground in their farmland, in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza Strip, Palestine, on Nov. 1, 2013.

    Medhat Hamad's grandchild is seen laying on the ground in their farmland. His children and grandchildren are hanging out at their farmland after a family reunion.

  • Palestinian children and a man gather near a greenhouse at the farm in Msabbah area in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Palestine, on Nov. 6, 2013.

    Kids are entering a farmland in Msabbah area in Rafah.

  • Pigeons are seen in a farm, in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Palestine, on Nov. 6th 2013.

    Pigeons are seen flying in a farm in Rafah.

  • Remains of a rocket following an Israeli air strike lay on the ground, as shadows of Eyad Qudaih's two daughters are seen next to them, near Qudaih family's house, in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on Nov. 10, 2013.

    Children ran to their fathers, just before the projectile hit their bedroom, Eyad remembers. "If they stayed in the room, they would have been all dead." He says his wife was pregnant with twin boys, in her sixth month, and had a miscarriage the night of the bombing.

  • Man holds up a cabbage, with his son standing next to him, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Palestine, on Nov. 9, 2013.

    Man is picking up the cabbage in east Rafah. After Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped in June 2006 this area it is considered to be one of the most tough and dangerous places to cultivate in Gaza, residents say.

  • Farmers, try to lay the irrigation system, in Beit Lahia, in northern Gaza Strip, Palestine, on Oct. 29, 2013.

    Farmers are trying to lay the irrigation system in Beit Lahia, near Erez Checkpoint.

  • Abu Daqqa's farmland is pictured in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Palestine, on Nov. 2, 2013.

    Abu Daqqa's farmland is seen, at the so called Buffer Zone, about 300 meters from the border. Farmer Mohammed Abu Daqqa cannot hire workers, because the land is considered to be too dangerous, so he has to work on the field on his own. Foreign activists accompany him from time to time, as a human shield, to protect him from Israeli army sniper fire. He cannot use the second piece of his land, because it is inside the 300 meter Buffer Zone.

  • Jihan Abu Daqqa, checks his children's homework, before they go to school, in their home in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Palestine, on Nov. 3, 2013.

    Jihan Abu Daqqa is checking their children's homework before they go to school. She finished studying Law, but stays at home and helps his husband with the farm. Jinan always take care for their kids with homework and studying.

  • Sari Zaanin, loads the tricycle, in his fathers farm in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza Strip, Palestine, on Oct. 31, 2013.

    Sari Zaanin, is helping at his fathers farm after school. He is loading the tricycle, which than carry the products to the local market. Farmers used to export their products abroad, but are now, because of the blockade, forced to sell for lower prices in the local markets.

  • Wife of a farmer makes bread in Msabbah area in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Palestine, on Nov. 6, 2013.

    Wife of a farmer is seen making bread in Msabbah area in Rafah.

  • Donkey, eats from a bucket, in east Rafah, Gaza Strip, Palestine, on Nov 9th 2013.

    Donkey is seen eating from a bucket in a farm in east Rafah.

  • Davids star is seen in the bedroom of Qudaih family in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Palestine, on Nov. 5, 2013.

    Qudaih family reflected in a mirror in their bedroom, as the David's star drawing is seen on their wall. Israeli soldiers drew in on the wall during the first war in 2008/2009 when they occupied the house. The family was evacuated from their home one day before as the rooftop of the house was wrecked and used for military purposes, family says.

  • Daughter of Mohammed Abu Daqqa, is seen at the playground on the roof of their house in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Palestine, on Nov. 5, 2013.

    Daughter of Mohammed Abu Daqqa is playing on the rooftop of their house. Their house is the first one in a row from the border.
    Families playground is surrounded by Israeli army sniper towers and tanks. In the last war in 2012, their house was occupied by the solders, family recalls. They detained their father Mohammed for several days, while their mother Jihan and their kids were forced to stay in the house with the solders. Their children are afraid to sleep on their own ever since.

  • Baby of Al Roomi family, sleeps in her mothers lap on a tricycle, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Palestine, on Nov. 9, 2013.

    Al Roomis family baby is seen sleeping in her mothers lap, on a tricycle, while his father is loading the products from their land on the tricycle.


Newsletter