The sheep sector in the Gaza Strip faces many problems that are affecting both farmers and consumers. The low number of sheep available in the sector and the high prices are a reason for the consumers' reluctance to purchase them, thus causing a great loss for breeders.
Sheep workers throughout the year work only in specific seasons, which are limited to Eid al-Adha and Ramadan, while the rest of the year remains unemployed, causing economic damage that many people stop working.
Causes and Constraints
Bakr Nasr, one of the sheep breeders in the northern Gaza Strip, confirmed that sheep farming faces many obstacles in the sector, most notably the difference in food culture among people, who prefer beef and white meat more than sheep and sheep meat.
He pointed out that he has been working in raising sheep for 27 years where the consumption of sheep meat better than now, pointing out that the difficult economic situation in the Gaza Strip on the concerns of people's food.
"The sheep breeders have a few seasons of work, and they are concentrated during Eid al-Adha and Ramadan," he said, noting that he sells 30 percent in Ramadan, Eid al-Adha sells 50 percent and the remaining 20 percent. Is for the rest of the year.
He added: "The rest of the year we do not work in them and here we suffer large losses as the sheep grow up and insulate and find no one to buy, so we have to sell it to traders in installments," pointing to the absence of the islanders specialized in the sale of sheep meat to deal directly with them.
He said that his farm was severely damaged by the Israeli occupation. His farm and house were totally destroyed during the Israeli aggression in late 2008 and early 2009. In the aggression of 2014, a large number of cows and sheep died.
Lack and promotion
"The Gaza Strip has 54,000 sheep and 10,000 goats, 2,500 farmers working in this field, and the sector is slaughtering 30,000 heads annually," said Taher Abu Hamad, Director of Animal Production at the Ministry of Agriculture.
Abu Hamad told the newspaper "Palestine": "The numbers in Gaza from sheep are not enough needs of the sector, which needs more quantities, which led to higher prices, which in turn prompted the consumer to buy them in certain seasons such as Eid al-Adha or slaughter of aqeeqah.
Abu Hamad pointed out that sheep farming does not require large areas other than the milk cows sector and other sectors that need to take care of large areas, so the ministry encourages the development of this sector in the context of population expansion.
Abizaid said: "Sheep meat is also characterized as the highest quality and nutritional value of beef and calves, and therefore urges the Ministry of civil and international institutions to develop the sector to meet the shortage of red meat in the Gaza Strip."
Abu Hamad pointed out that the absence of green pastures in the sector increases the dependence on nutrition on imported fodder, which leads to higher production costs, noting that the costs of nutrition constitute 70%, which leads to higher prices.
He explained that the ministry is looking for ways to reduce the cost of nutrition through the use of agricultural residues and waste factories biscuits and palm and other waste for use as feed alternatives.
Abu Hamad stressed that the Ministry of Agriculture is working hard to develop this sector and increase the number of sheep of the distinctive breeds, especially of the type of Asaf, which is characterized by quality, and the ministry is working to encourage the NGOs to provide projects in this sector to increase the number of sheep from the excellent breeds.
He pointed out that there is cooperation between the Ministry of Agriculture and the FAO for the development of the livestock sector, especially the sheep, where the project numbering sheep, which was completed 80% of it, where the project numbering sheep to limit the number and knowledge and control of the sheep sector and control diseases.
Regarding the problems facing the sheep sector in Gaza, Abu Hamad said: "The biggest problem is the damage caused to this sector during the aggression of 2014, where 30% of it was damaged, through the total destruction of farms and the death of large numbers of sheep."
He continued: "The second problem is the high costs of education, especially nutrition and high feed prices, in addition to the difficulties of importing good strains from abroad."