Days of Palestine

Sunday, January 29

Gaza livestock live on cheap recycled fodder

Days of Palestine -

By Nour abu-Aisha

Anadolu, Gaza Strip -Due to dire economic conditions the Palestinians in Gaza Strip have been experiencing under strict Israeli siege, they became expert of recycling everything even livestock food.

Mohannad abu-Ajwa, a 30-year-old Palestinian living in the blockaded Gaza Strip, feeds his livestock every day with fodder that mainly consists of old corn seed and wheat unfit for human consumption.

Due to Gaza’s devastated economy, some livestock owners recycle old corn seed and wheat, which they mix with fresh fodder to reduce expenses. Abu-Ajwa gets the fodder mixture from Gaza’s Agriculture Ministry.

Abu-Ajwa, who owns 110 cows and 50 goats, says fodder from old corn seed makes animals feel full in a shorter time, thus reducing the amount of food required.

He says he used to pay around 6,400 Israeli shekels daily (around $1,680) to feed his livestock, but now spends around 4,800 shekels each day (around $1,260).

The old man with deep cracks in his forehead has his animals vaccinated every six months to prevent their being poisoned in case the fodder he feeds them turns out to be rotten.

High prices

Abdul Aziz Jebril, 27, a farm owner in the eastern Gaza Strip, also mixes fodder with old wheat and corn to reduce expenses.

“Before the last Israeli war on the Gaza Strip [in mid-2014], we used to buy a ton of imported fodder for around $260. But now prices have doubled,” Jebril told Anadolu Agency.

Jebril said that, normally, fodder increases milk production in livestock. He added, however, that other ingredients in the fodder served to reduce milk production.

He said there was no dire need for locally produced milk, as imported milk was cheaper. Therefore, he keeps a few cows for milk while the rest are used for meat.

New mixture

The Agriculture Ministry allows livestock owners to use fodder containing 10 percent corn seed, wheat and flour, but stipulates that it must not be rotten.

For his part, Taher abu-Hamad, head of the ministry’s livestock department, told Anadolu Agency that livestock in Gaza “suffers major problems because of Israel’s decade-long siege on the strip”.

“Israel imposes restrictions on the import of fodder into the strip, which were tightened further after the last war,” Abu-Hamad said.

The price of fodder in the Gaza Strip recently increased by 20 percent, according to Abu-Hamad, while taxes imposed on the commodity have risen by 17 percent — higher than any other Arab country.

Since the Hamas movement won Palestinian legislative polls in 2006, Israel has imposed a tight blockade on the Gaza Strip, creating a difficult economic and humanitarian situation for many of the territory’s roughly 1.9 million inhabitants.