Urban Agriculture Consultant at Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Mr. Somerville, Urban Agriculture Consultant at Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), holds an MA in Development Studies and has led on a number of urban agriculture projects in Gaza and the West Bank since January 2012.
As one of the fastest-growing food production sectors, small-scale aquaculture activities have the potential to stabilize livelihoods of poor rural and coastal families in the Gaza Strip. Water and high quality soil are scarce resources in urban and peri-urban areas of the Gaza Strip, where food and nutrition insecurity is high.
In 2012, through a generous contribution from the Kingdom of Belgium, an emergency food production initiative was launched by FAO which included the pilot of small-scale aquaponic units on rooftops and supported by training.
The project targets poor and vulnerable families in urban and peri-urban areas through the provision of agricultural inputs and technical support to develop and demonstrate simple household garden and aquaculture systems for vegetable and fish production in Gaza. All beneficiaries received training (animal care, proper use of tools, irrigation systems, crop management, planting times, seedling preparation, fertilization, organic and natural pest control and seedling protection techniques) in order to maximize the use of inputs received.
Given that access to good agricultural land and water will continue to be a chronic issue within Gaza, aquaponics and other soilless culture methods can serve as an applicable food production option mainly due to efficient water utilization and easy installation of each production unit (fish and plant) on any flat, urban platform using local low-tech materials.
For further information, please visit: http://fex.ennonline.net/46/aquaponics