Solar energy boosts irrigation in Gaza
Faithful to its Humanitarian Aid Strategy - geared to promote innovation -, Belgium granted one million euros for a project in order to promote the development of a solar-powered irrigation mechanism for farmers in Gaza.
In Gaza, the project executed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) will set up solar energy facilities that will address critical shortages of electricity. Currently, farmers in the Gaza Strip only receive electricity for about four hours a day, a situation that is likely to deteriorate further, limiting agricultural production and subsequently food security and livelihoods of an already vulnerable population.
"At a time of rising hunger, when bridges between humanitarian and development assistance are needed, innovation is crucial, especially when threats to food security are complex and multiform," said Dominique Burgeon, FAO's Director of Emergencies and Resilience Strategic Programme Leader.
Solar energy facilities will be set up in the Gaza Strip to enable better crop production through efficient irrigation while dairy and poultry farmers will be supported with solar energy units that will help maintain normal levels of egg, meat and milk production, building resilience among local farmers.
Beneficiaries are also set to receive technical capacity building and training on irrigation management and solar panel management, ensuring sustainability and continuity of project gains. The initiative contributes to the Palestinian Solar Initiative, which aims to meet 30 percent of energy demands from renewable sources by 2020 as well as to the sustainable development goal SDG 7 which wants to ensure access to clean, affordable and reliable energy for all.