JERUSALEM – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is transporting more than one million date bars produced in the Gaza Strip to the West Bank; the second batch of locally produced school snacks to be sent by WFP from the impoverished strip.
This week’s 76-metric-ton shipment of 1.2 million fortified date bars will benefit some 75,000 school children, through WFP’s school meals project in approximately 300 schools in the most food insecure areas of the West Bank.
WFP’s humanitarian assistance programmes provide a vital economic link between Gaza and the West Bank, while providing locally produced food for use in safety net programmes for the most vulnerable Palestinians. Local industry in the Gaza Strip has limited options to export goods.
“Over the past three years, WFP has invested more than US$80 million in local purchases in the Palestinian territory and has provided electronic food vouchers that has placed more than $18 million into the hands of families to spend in local stores,” said WFP Country Director in the occupied Palestinian territory Pablo Recalde. “Safety net programmes like school meals and food vouchers can be a pillar to economic development. This is one step in our partnership with Palestinians to link social safety nets to economic activity,” he added.
WFP previously purchased the date bars for the school meals programme in Egypt or Turkey until it identified a local factory in the Gaza Strip. WFP’s purchases represent 50 percent of the production of the Gaza factory. Since WFP began working with the factory earlier this year, the factory has hired 40 new workers.
Almost half of the population of the Gaza Strip is affected by food insecurity, meaning they struggle to feed their families. Restrictions on movement, trade and investment have resulted in high levels of unemployment and a lack of purchasing power, which prevent many people from covering their basic needs.
For more information please contact (email address:firstname.lastname@example.org):
Anna Trolle-Lindgren, WFP/Jerusalem, Tel. +972 (0) 546773128