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.
Musa al-Jadba, an agricultural engineer, who supervised the project, told AFP they had cultivated pineapples “for the first time in the temperate of the 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 due to the 11-year-old Israeli siege, 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 launched three massive offensives on Gaza in the course of the past 10 years, killed thousands, wounded tens of thousands, destroyed thousands of houses and other facilities and destroyed agriculture infrastructure across the who coastal enclave.