Promoting innovation to create jobs and prospects for Palestinian youth and women is a key objective of the Swiss Cooperation Programme for the Near East 2021-2024. The gradual expansion of this portfolio will be given high priority in the coming years.
While the SDC is developing new initiatives to harness the opportunities of digitalisation, it can point to many positive results achieved by promoting innovation in the agri-food sector in partnership with Oxfam. Here are two examples from the West Bank:
Asmaa from the village of Qabalan/Nablus is a young graduate agro-technician. In her family's small nursery, she grows seedlings for lemon and orange trees, as well as ornamental plants such as fragrant white gardenias. Looking for ways to increase the productivity of the family farm, Asmaa developed a solar-heated warming mattress that equalises soil temperature and speeds up the germination and rooting process of seeds and seedlings during the cold winter months. The innovation, introduced with technical and financial support from an SDC/Oxfam project, makes it possible to reduce production costs and increase the productivity of the nursery, resulting in additional income for Asmaa and her family.