Bethlehem – A workshop for the technical committee specialized in field crops was conducted at the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ) on Monday the 15th of September 2014, under the “Strengthening Livelihoods through Community Adaptation and Learning (SLCAL)” project, currently implemented in partnership with CARE international and funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The workshop started with an introduction about the project and its objectives, followed by a presentation on the activities of the field crops program for the agricultural season 2014/2015, which include the distribution of drought resistant field crop seeds to farmers, in addition to suitable pesticides and herbicides.

Experts from the Ministry of Agriculture, the National Agricultural Research Center (NARC), the Land Research Center (LRC), the Union of Agricultural Workers Committees (UWAC), the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and experts from ARIJ participated in the workshop, and discussed the work plan of the field crops program that was set by ARIJ’s specialized project team. Satellite images and the participant’ expertise were utilized to select the target areas in the West Bank, taking into consideration the different agricultural eco-systems and rainfall levels. Through this project, 3,000 dunums in the West Bank and Gaza strip will be cultivated during the current agricultural season 2014/2015, during which 600 farming households will benefit.

On another approach, and under the same project, balanced double pressure irrigation networks were distributed to cover 50 dunums of open agricultural lands and greenhouses at AlJiftlik and Ein Al-Beida villages of the Jordan Valley. The intervention – from which 25 farmers will benefit – introduces a system of irrigation networks that is expected to contribute to the reduction in irrigation water consumption, and will assist in balancing the distribution of irrigation water to reach all irrigated plants from the same network, thus enhancing the growth and productivity of those plants.