Manama: Agricultural projects worth more than $12 million to provide sustainable food security in Palestine have been launched by Qatar Charity (QC).

According to a spokesperson for the foundation, the projects will include planting a million fruit trees and land reclamation of around 20,000 acres.

The five-year project, part of Qatar Charity's long term strategy for enhancing food security within Palestine, also aims to support the poverty eradication effort.

It will be implemented in full co-ordination with all NGOs and official bodies within Palestine working in the same field, Qatari daily Gulf Times reports.

Ramadan Assi, Qatar Charity Country director, said that the project was opened to institutional partnerships, transparency, co-operation and co-ordination with the agriculture ministry and the departments of agriculture.

Universities, specialised research centres, Palestinian trees nurseries and Palestinian private sector can also be involved to ensure the sustainability of the important project, he said.

"The implementation of the project will foster the land rehabilitation, reclamation and development of agricultural lands in Palestine," he said. "This project will also support the establishment of rain water harvesting projects for use in supplemental irrigation to ensure the access to healthy and productive seedlings and trees."
"The project also aims to include a variety of co-ordinated activities, capacity building and implementation of special applied studies to reach an integrated system of seedlings production," he said, quoted by the daily.

The project will create more jobs for the Palestinian farmers through providing various types of appropriate healthy seedlings which are adapted to the Palestinian environment and agricultural areas, according to the director.

It will also support poor families by applying the rainwater harvesting system (wells and reservoirs to collect rainwater for use in the process of supplementary irrigation), especially during summer. According to Assi, the project will help to stabilise the Palestinians in their lands and keep them from confiscation or destruction.

The project will also seek to achieve the overall objective by improving the capacity of 10,000 poor families in the management and reclamation of their own lands, in addition to strengthening the partnership between governmental, non-governmental and private civil society institutions, he said.

"The project will help sustain those people who constantly face land confiscation for settlements and bypass roads that serve Israeli settlers in all areas of West Bank and especially in the Jerusalem areas including Jordan Valley areas and those areas isolated after the construction of separation wall," he said.