(MENAFN- Palestine News Network )
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on 20 Sept. held a ceremony to mark its renovation and expansion of the Wholesale Central Market in Hebron, West Bank. This project is part of the USD 30 million Multidonor Agribusiness Programme (MAP), funded by Denmark, the European Union, the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland.
The ceremony took place at the newly upgraded market space in Hebron and was held under the patronage of H.E. Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Shtayyeh in the presence of H.E. Minister of Agriculture Riyad Attari, Representative of the Hebron Governor H.E. Rafeeq Al-Jabari and H.E. Hebron Mayor Tayseer Abu Suneineh. Representatives from the five donor countries and FAO's Coordination Office for the West Bank and Gaza Strip also attended.
The renovation of the wholesale market is benefitting nearly 1 million local residents by providing a more sustainable, hygienic and efficient commercial link between farmers and wholesalers, on the one hand, and consumers on the other hand. In Hebron, the upkeep and management of the wholesale market is essential to the food security and economic prosperity of almost 1 million residents in the City of Hebron, the Hebron Governorate and the West Bank.
MAP is providing investment support to three wholesale markets and more than 400 local agribusinesses, including youth and female entrepreneurs, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, whose businesses demonstrate a strong potential for social inclusiveness, environmental sustainability and profitability. In doing so, the programme aims to promote sustainable revenues through climate smart technologies and infrastructures, and enable the agrifood sector to achieve its full potential as a core pillar of the Palestinian economy.
During the launch event, MAP resource partners stressed on the important role this project plays in promoting sustainable and green economic growth, and in creating thousands of equal job opportunities to Palestinians, including women and youth. This improves the Palestinian people resilience and livelihoods, which is a major goal that MAP donors are willing to achieve with their local and international partners. .
“Supporting the market lies at the intersection of several strategic priorities of FAO in Palestine, including ensuring the competitiveness of the agrifood value chains, supporting highly vulnerable agrifood actors and food and nutrition safety”, said Dr. Ciro Fiorillo, head of FAO's Coordination Office in Palestine.
Before 2020, the market was struggling with high-energy waste and costs, missed environmental and economic opportunities, and poor services. In response, FAO carried out an innovative support package to reduce food and energy waste, lower operating costs, enhance market access and improve hygiene.
In addition to basic infrastructural works, the project installed a 200-kilowatt solar energy system and generator, established eight cold storage units to reduce food waste and installed a fire system that, in August, helped the market respond to a fire until the Civil Defence could arrive.
The project also helped improve the market's administration and regulation by establishing operational manuals covering topics such as environmental sustainability and public health requirements, financial management protocols to promote transparency and procedures to encourage gender equity and mainstreaming in the market's operation. Support also included the construction of an administrative building for the market's management.
As a result of MAP support, the market forecasts an annual revenue increase of up to 40 percent.
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