Teach a man to raise fish

Israeli-Palestinian aquaculture farm wraps up pilot program

Four-year project in Jenin produced tons of bass fish for local consumption, aiming to improve food security for Palestinians

Gianluca Pacchiani is the Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

An aquaculture farm in Jenin set up with the support of the Israeli Agriculture Ministry and the Civil Administration (Gov.il/Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development)
An aquaculture farm in Jenin set up with the support of the Israeli Agriculture Ministry and the Civil Administration (Gov.il/Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development)

A four-year pilot project managed by the Israeli Agriculture Ministry in cooperation with the Civil Administration — the Defense Ministry agency in charge of civilian affairs in the West Bank — ended in Jenin after producing several tons of bass fish for the local market.

The aim of the project is to allow West Bank residents to grow their own food and strengthen food security for Palestinians. The Agriculture Ministry has provided financial support, equipment, food for the fish, water filters and training sessions for the local operators, for a total investment of NIS 700,000.

The first pilot in Jenin ended up yielding between two and four tons of bass fish. Another similar project is still ongoing in a fish farm in Tulkarem. The project is part of an effort to support the economy and food production in the PA areas.

The project was part of a program run by the Agriculture Ministry and the Civil Administration to transfer knowledge to Palestinian experts in the fields of veterinary medicine, forestry, plant protection, food import and marketing.

The aquaculture farms use Israeli technologies to maximize resource utilization, including the construction of open and covered ponds, water filtering and the use of the wastewater for agricultural irrigation.

Guy Rubinstein, director of Aquaculture at the Israeli Agriculture Ministry, said the goal of the projects is to allow Palestinians to grow their own food independently, and promote knowledge acquisition among the local population. Now that the first pilot project is over, a Palestinian investor has stepped in to take it further, while the ministry will continue to provide professional guidance.

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