West Bank and Gaza Strip: comprehensive food security and vulnerability analysis (CFSVA)
How can food security be ensured in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (WBGS)? Given the ever-fluctuating political and economic situation, up-to-date information is essential for policy development and programme planning as it relates to food security. This detailed assessment finds that:
- local production does not and will not provide sufficient staple food commodities (e.g. cereals and pulses), and the food supply will always rely on imports and commercial channels; however, areas that do have agricultural potential are affected by closures (e.g. Qalqilya, Tulkarm, Jordan Valley) and isolation from urban markets (e.g. Nablus); recently, food aid has become even more prominent as a source of food
- economic access to food continues to be the most significant food security concern with food price increases amidst the drastic reduction of livelihoods; reduced cash income and low consumer purchasing power should be considered as form of “market-induced shock” to vulnerable households
- there are increasingly distinct, and isolated “economic islands” that are the basis for the determination of market catchment areas; it would be useful to monitor these over time to gage the potential for acute crises, given the serious structural shifts (e.g. contraction of labour market, livelihood opportunities and trade) occurring in WBGS due to the current financial and economic crisis.
The authors state that recommendations in this report are feasible, albeit under the current political situation they can focus solely on the short- and medium-term modalities. Recommendations include:
- protection of livelihoods and mitigation of poverty can take place, for example, through sustainable employment generation schemes, promotion of productive and income-generating activities, micro-enterprises, and micro-finance; support to industries and private sector requires close policy dialogue and commitment by different stakeholders to long-term processes
- Regarding food aid, it should continue to be distributed to food insecure and highly dependent households, and that serious consideration is attributed to the rations so as to ensure optimal nutritional outcomes for people that are food aid dependent; food aid should be targeted to urban as well as rural areas and refugee camps, as there is increasing evidence that a sector of the urban population cannot meet their food requirements.
Other recommendations deal with the issues of social welfare/protection schemes, job creation, food markets and trade.