New Farm Roads Bring New Lease on Life

April 1, 2010 ANERA
Agriculture, Community Development, Economic Development, West Bank
Palestinian Abu-Ghaleb enjoys the West Bank view from his land where ANERA installed a cistern to help with watering his family's crops. Abu-Ghaleb doesn't have to carry water to his trees anymore.

These roads have facilitated farmers’ access to agricultural lands and markets while reducing their production costs and improving the quality of their produce.

Off an ANERA-constructed road in Ni’lin, Mahmoud Ali stands at the old steps of his childhood home surrounded by beautiful olive trees. The two-hundred-year-old house rests in ruins at the top of a mountain overlooking the village. Memories of Mahmoud’s childhood years have been preserved underneath each stone and within the crumbling walls of each room. The house has been empty since 1967, when then seven year-old Mahmoud sought shelter at a nearby cave with his parents.

“With this new road, I can now reach the house easily and finally be able to renovate it. It’s been abandoned for far too long,” proclaims Mahmoud, determined to renovate the house with his own hands. Before the construction of the IFAD-funded road, Mahmoud temporarily utilized the space as storage for his crops, a very cumbersome solution as donkeys were the only possible mode of transportation.

Over 100 kilometers of roads are built to help Palestinian farmers in the West Bank.

Just a few kilometers away in Deir Abu Mash’al village, Abu-Malek takes a stroll with his grandchild down the new road to the family’s vineyard and olive grove.

With my agricultural land, I want to help educate my grandchildren and see them all grow up to become successful doctors,” Abu-Malek says with resolve. With the new road, he can plant more trees and take better care of his land, eventually increasing the family’s income and the quality of his crops. “We were all delighted with the construction of this road. We can finally reach our lands by foot or car easily. It takes me less time and effort to reach my land now.”

Before the construction of these two roads in Ni’lin and Deir Abu-Mash’al, agriculture, construction and renovation faced great impediments and were hindered by the absence of roads that could connect the people with their land. Donkeys were the ideal and only means of transportation. Now, with the new roads, trucks help with the transport of water, crops and fertilizers. The new road in Deir Abu-Mash’al also provides access to two small water springs.

Not only have the new roads revitalized the agriculture of the two villages, but they have also revived the villagers’ social life, which now allows the residents of both Ni’lin and Deir Abu-Mash’al to enjoy activities such as family picnics and barbeques. “My joy for constructing this road has equaled my joy for building a school from scratch. It has improved the quality of life here in Ni’lin. It has also connected the two sides of the mountain together, thus connecting people together and providing them with better services.” said the Mayor of Ni’lin, Ayman Sa’id Nafe’.

The road has certainly helped to improve the quality of life for people in the area and will serve the community for generations to come.


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