For the first time in Gaza, farmer masters water gardening

Planting with aquatics is slightly different from other forms of gardening in which the farmer needs to be aware of proper planting techniques, fertility and care.

However this method of planting is successful in every country in the first world ones and some in the third, it, for the first time, was a successful by a Palestinian farmer in the besieged Gaza Strip amid the lack of the resources needed for planting and the shortages of importing those resources.

Saed abu Nasser, a 53-year-old Palestinian farmer living in the Gaza Strip is the first Palestinian from the enclave succeeded in water gardening (Planting Aquatic Plants), which is famous in the rest of the world.

Setting among his freshly picked plants in his 200 meter farm that he used after being neglected for years in front of his home, abu Nasser said that he has finally succeeded in gardening healthy vegetables in containers containing water without using soil.

Using mineral salts with water, the farmer considered his step a big achievement in the agriculture era in the besieged Gaza Strip.

“These vegetables don’t consist of any chemicals, and they are really helpful for the human body. These plants are not poisonous like a lot of productions that left side effects to its consumers.” Said abu Nasser.

Broccoli, tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and eggplant are the group the successful farmer succeeded to get just within a period of 30-70 days.

Calling his small farm ‘a paradise of vegetables on earth’, he said that water gardening is a new method of planting in the Gaza Strip, which suffers from the lack of planting lands, fertilized soil and planting resources.

Abu Nasser is not only an amateur farmer, but he is also a good carpenter whose hobby is farming and planting.

“I love planting and farming, so I began thinking of something unique regarding my hobby ten years ago. As a result, I starting surfing deeply the internet looking for the procedures of this method, and with the help of UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), I could master it”. He explained.

When asked why he loves his new method, abu Nasser responded that he began using it to avoid the poisonous vegetables that Gaza markets are filled with due to the chemicals a lot of farmers use without knowledge.

Amid the bad economic, social and political situations in Palestine and in the Gaza Strip in General, abu Nasser, like many other successful farmers, achieved his self-sufficiency.

“Now I can finally say that I am self-sufficient, and I can satisfy my family’s needs through my project.” He added.

To widen his project after its success, abu Nasser said that he is trying to develop the unique method on a 1000 meter planting land in the Strip. He also advises his fellow farmers to use this method simply because, “The products are healthy, fresh and clean as well as it helps saving money.”

When asked about the difficulties and the challenges he faced when starting his succeeded project, abu Nasser said that the main problem he faced was the power corruption that challenged him when trying pumping water inside the containers of the plants.

“The FAO helped me getting solar cells though, but that did not help since the cells could provide only half of the required power. However, the things we need now are greenhouses to help the plants have a normal atmosphere to be able to grow properly.” Explained the farmer.

Moreover, abu Nasser said that the project of planting aquatic plants cost him about 10,000 USD, which is a high price.

On the other hand, Mohammed Bukheit, the manager of Plant Protection and Quarantine tasks in the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture, said that this method helps the costumers avoid the unhealthy plants containing chemicals.

“Using this method doubles the harvest of the plant.” Bukheit added. “That means, in the traditional planting, which is planting using soil, the harvest of one dunam of potato, for example, is about four tons, but when it comes to this new method, the harvest would be ten tons for the one dunam.”

He also said that one dunam of Tomato can produce 40 tons using this method, while it’s only 10 in the traditional planting.

Mohammed Arafat

11-05-2017

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