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Since the attacks of 2009 until 2012, unemployment in the Gaza Strip remains very high despite a slight improvement, and average wage levels remain low. Given the ongoing blockade, this situation is not likely to improve significantly, meaning that vulnerable households with low incomes and limited or no employment will continue to require support to meet their basic food and non-food needs.The steady improvement of the food security situation in Palestine and specifically in Gaza since 2009 was reversed in the second half of 2012. In 2012, 57% of households in the Gaza Strip were food insecure, a surge from 44 per cent in 2011.
Considered as an activity with potential for income generation, broiler chicken production has been encouraged over the past five to ten years by various NGOs for household-level and small-scale farmers in urban, peri-urban and rural areas. The present EMMA study focused on these as target population, covering the five governorates of the Gaza Strip. The key analytical questions focused on the constraints of the target group to start and sustain broiler production, the capacity of the market to absorb an increase in the supply of broiler chickens and the most appropriate interventions to effectively support sustainable broiler production by small-scale producers. The study used a livelihoods perspective and looked at the broiler chicken market as an income market. It also looked at the impacts of the previous two wars (Cast Lead in December 2008-January 2009 and November 2012) to analyse what the impacts of a future similar crisis could be. In this sense, this study was really more of an early PCMMA than an EMMA.
Chicken meat is the most consumed meat product in Gaza, mainly because of its relative affordability compared to other protein sources. Broiler chicken is widely produced in the Gaza Strip, from household-level to very large-scale farms. The 3% annual population growth rate suggests that market demand can potentially increase. Retailers/butchers report they have the capacity to manage increased volumes. However, there does not seem to be current unmet demand. Poor and very poor households are not able to increase consumption without a decrease in prices, or an increase in purchasing power.
Violent conflicts such as those in 2009-12 have led to a loss of broiler chicken production and related assets/financing along the market chain at all levels. Among small-scale producers, there is very limited capacity for independent recovery. Start-up requires a significant investment relative to the income/assets of the target group. Further, formal training opportunities for broiler chicken production do not exist. Economic access to inputs. Access to chicken feed, which is imported from Israel, is hampered by high prices (commodity imported from Israel). The availability and price of gas also constitutes a major constraint. Small-scale producers are not supported by the Ministry of Agriculture or eligible for extension services. Small-scale producers tend to rely on sourcing chicks/feed from middlemen/traders more than large/medium scale producers who may be able to source directly from hatcheries/importers as traders more likely to offer credit facility to small-scale producers, reducing their potential income/profits.
This report recommends supporting small-scale broiler producers who are already engaged in the activity; providing inputs to small-scale producers who experienced losses as a result of wars and who have the potential for sustainability to restart their production; the facilitation of follow-up trainings in poultry production management; advocacy with the Ministry of Agriculture to improve/provide positive support and registration for small-scale producers; advocacy to relevant ministries to provide compensation for losses resulting from conflicts and/or epidemics; facilitating access to credit providers for small-scale producers to prevent them remaining dependent on middlemen for financial services; and conducting further analysis on the chicken feed, gas and credit markets.