Farmers in Area C of the Westbank, including livestock farmers, face manifold challenges. Constituting over 60 percent of the West Bank, Area C accounts for almost two thirds of the West Bank’s agricultural land. As this resource-rich area remains under full Israeli control, farmers are unable to exploit its agricultural potential. The restrictions placed by the Government of Israel on the ability of Palestinians to access land and water resources and weaknesses in PA capacities have impeded agricultural development and have adversely affected living standards of farmers in Area C, who are amongst the poorest and most food insecure in the West Bank. Oxfam has come together with its strategic partners, the Economic and Social Development Center of Palestine (ESDC), the Palestinian Farmers’ Union (PFU), and the Rural Women’s Development Society (RWDS) to propose a project to address these challenges.
The design of this project, which was developed in full consultation with key stakeholders in Area C in the West Bank, has been informed by Oxfam and partners’ demonstrable expertise in agricultural development, and extensive field experience in Area C. The findings and recommendations of value chain reports and feasibility studies undertaken by Oxfam as part of its wider Economic Justice program and the specific needs assessment for this project development, have been instrumental in the selection and design of replicable models for integrated land development, water management, and capacity upgrading, proposed through this action. Lessons learnt by Oxfam and its strategic partners in national and international influencing (including policy, advocacy, media and communications), gender mainstreaming and women’s economic initiatives, have also informed the design of this project.
The overall aim of this project is to contribute to resilient and inclusive agricultural growth that improves the living standards of women and men farmers in Area C of the West Bank. Its specific objective is to increase the income of small-scale women and men farmers and their attachment to their lands in Area C through upgraded capacities, improved land development and water management practices and policies.
In addition, the project is intended to support women’s economic empowerment (WEE) initiatives to empower them to enhance their access to agricultural resources and income; and in line with policy priorities outlined in the National Policy Agenda, highlight ‘the role of women in agricultural work and their contribution to national output’ through organizing community-level awareness sessions and campaigning.
The project’s overall theory of change is borne out of robust evidence: when women and men farmers’ access to rehabilitated and irrigated land increases; when their capacities to sustainably manage grazing and agricultural lands and water resources are upgraded; when the market integration of farmer is enhanced, and when they gain greater protection and support from national and international decision-makers, then they will be able to increase income generated from agriculture and improve their livelihoods and strengthen their resilience to stay onto protect and use their land.
Result 1: Women and men engaged in fruit, vegetable, and livestock farming in targeted locations enhance their access to rehabilitated and irrigated agricultural land.
Output (1.1): 360 farmers will be able to start or intensify (grape) stone fruits, high value fruits and vegetables farming on 1,800 dunums of previously sub-utilized land.
Output (1.2): 400 dunums of rehabilitated lands are planted with stone fruit trees and inter-cropped with field crops
Output (1.3): 190 vegetable farmers will expand vegetable farming on 500 dunums of rehabilitated land.
Output (1.4): The rehabilitation of 500 dunums of grazing land to enable farmers to better access agricultural lands rehabilitated through this project.
Output (1.5): 15 kilometers of agricultural roads in the targeted geographical clusters are rehabilitated
Result 2: Innovative agricultural service delivery and business models will be expanded to benefit women and men farmers engaged in fruit, vegetable, and livestock farming in targeted geographical clusters in Area C.
Output (2.1): Two women-led businesses for the pickling and vacuum packaging of grape leaves are established.
Output (2.2): Women-run snap freezing unit in Jordan Valley is launched and operating.
Output (2.3): Public private partnership (PPP) model on ‘elite breed farm’ is replicated in the targeted livestock growing areas.
Output (2.4): PPP on veterinary services is strengthened and expanded into the targeted livestock growing areas
Output (2.5): Models on hydroponic green fodder production are successfully researched and piloted in targeted locations.
Result 3: The capacities of farmers’ organizations and public institutions to protect and promote agricultural development and land and water rights in Area C and to raise national and international stakeholders’ awareness are enhanced.
Output (3.1): Tailored capacity development is delivered to the Ministry of Agriculture to promote improved land and water practices and policies in Area C.
Output(3.2): Gendered capacity development and awareness raising is delivered to farmer groups, agricultural cooperatives, women and men community members, in targeted locations in Area C.
Output (3.3): Farmer groups in targeted locations receive technical training on sustainable agricultural practices and are mobilized to advocate for improved agricultural policies, including investment policies, in Area C.
Output (3.4): Advocacy and campaigning, for land rights and improved agricultural policies, including networking among vulnerable communities and relevant stakeholders are increased.