First pineapple farm opens in Gaza
KHAN YUNIS - Pineapples are being harvested in the Gaza Strip for the first time as part of efforts to help the impoverished Palestinian territory work towards food self-sufficiency.
The fruit, for domestic sale, is grown in a 1,000 square metre greenhouse in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis as part of a project sponsored by the Dutch government.
Mussa al-Jadba, an agricultural engineer who supervised the project, said they had cultivated pineapples "for the first time in the temperate Gaza Strip after we have created the environment and climate for their growth."
Two hundred and fifty plants have so far reached maturity with up to 4,000 expected to bear fruit throughout this harvest.
The goal is to develop new crops to help Gazan farmers achieve self sufficiency, Jadba added.
"The Gaza Strip suffers fundamentally from salty water, which has encouraged the union to grow pineapples as they don't need much water," he added, referring to the agricultural union.
Gaza suffers from severe water pollution, with more than 95 percent of its groundwater unclean, leading to increased risk of serious diseases.
The United Nations has warned the strip will be uninhabitable by 2020.
Israel has imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza for a decade, citing security reasons.