IFAD and the Palestinian Authority collaborate in expanding cultivated land in the West Bank

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IFAD and the Palestinian Authority collaborate in expanding cultivated land in the West Bank

Rome, 10 May 2018 – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), a specialized UN agency that invests in rural development, and the Palestinian Authority have agreed to further their collaborate in developing agricultural land, promoting more climate resilient farming practices, and increasing productivity and profitability of agriculture in the West Bank.

According to the financing agreement signed today IFAD will contribute US$4.56 million to the Resilient Land and Resource Management Project (RELAP). RELAP will receive $1 million in co-funding from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' Fund for International Development (OFID).

The West Bank’s rural areas are among the most water-stressed in the world.

"We have to work with the Palestinian Authority to make the West Bank less dependent on food imports, to promote a more resilient management of natural resources, and to improve livelihoods of the rural population,” said Annabelle Lhommeau, IFAD's Country Programme Manager for Palestine.

RELAP will support increased land tenure for smallholders and promote climate-resilient land development activities, using past experiences as a foundation, but also by innovating around less costly land practices that are being tested and tried with farmers.

"RELAP hopes to develop 18,000 dunums (1,800 ha) of agricultural land and will build on the achievements of the previous IFAD funded project, the Participatory Natural Resources Management Project, which fostered collaboration between IFAD, the Palestine's Ministry of Agriculture and the rural communities themselves,”Lhommeau added.

Much of the planned $41.4 million total investment will be devoted to increasing land productivity through soil improvement techniques and setting up rainwater harvesting facilities and efficient irrigation systems. RELAP will also substantially invest in training farming households to enable them to take full advantage of those investments.

RELAP will also work to improve beneficiaries' access to markets, addressing three key issues: (1) grouping agricultural products and developing connections to local market and beyond; (2) building agricultural roads, which will make it easier and cheaper for farmers to transport products from farmlands to villages and markets; and (3) creating market opportunities for landless people, women’s organizations and youth associations. A microenterprise facility will provide investment grants exclusively to the targeted groups, enabling them to develop a diversity of climate-resilient livelihood activities and market-oriented small enterprises in the farming and off-farm rural sectors.

Another key component of the project, which will be implemented together with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), aims to improve public weather forecasting services so that farmers have more accurate and updated information on weather and can take timely and effective action to protect their crops and animals from pests, diseases, extreme weather and changing climatic conditions.

Press release No.: IFAD/35/2018

IFAD has invested in rural people for 40 years, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided US$20.2 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 476 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.

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Juan Ignacio Cortes Carrasbal

Communications Division