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Gaza’s dairy sector has been severely damaged by Israel’s policy of separating the Gaza Strip from the West Bank and the rest of the world, including through the imposition of an illegal blockade and three escalations in violence within eight years.
As our recently published report show, the local sector is constrained from growing effectively due to a number of factors, including the rate of imports coming from Israel that prevent dairies from accessing equipment essential to modernize their business. Despite this, the sector has enormous potential for growth.
Mustafa: "We want the sector to grow but it's difficult".
Mustafa owns the Khalij dairy processor in the Deir Al-Balah area in Gaza. He started his business in 2011 making white cheese. As his business continued to grow he expanded it to include the production of other products including labneh (a soft cream cheese), yogurt, cream, cheese and buttermilk.
Mustafa said despite this growth, it ís hard for him to expand his business further when he has little access to new knowledge, technologies and machinery.
“Our machines are second-hand and quite old, they are not usable outside Gaza. If we want the sector to grow, we need to travel to learn and bring in new experiences and equipment so we can compete with imported products and increase our revenues. The local market is full of products imported from Israeli settlements. Instead of helping our economy, we are helping the Israeli economy.”
Oxfam's work in Gaza
Oxfam has been working with dairy processors and farmers since 2011 to improve their conditions and to help their products meet Palestinian health and quality standards.
Our support has allowed them to increase their production capacity by 144% and strengthen commercial ties between local dairy processors and 74 shops in the Gaza Strip. This has resulted in an increase from 10% to 60% of the shops’ dairy products being sourced locally rather than imported.
However, the humanitarian needs remain enormous. Gaza has witnessed its worst destruction in decades and an already vulnerable civilian population has been left even more vulnerable. Help us to keep supporting local livelihoods and provide life-saving aid to the 1.8 million Palestinians trapped in the Gaza Strip.
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