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Sameh Hallaq

Assistant Professor, Al-Quds Bard College
Funded Research Project Title: Impact of Climate Change on the Agricultural Sector In Palestine

Project title: Impact of Climate Change on the Agricultural Sector In Palestine

Sameh’s research aims to examine the impact of climate change in the region on the agriculture sector in Palestine, particularly how climate change over the last two decades contributed to (1) sectoral labor reallocation (2) farmers' preference toward a specific type of crops, such as tobacco. The research depends on data collection during the period (May - June) and will cleaned, coded, and entered for further processing in specialized software to be used in writing a research article. The study utilizes the Palestinian Labor Force Survey PLFS conducted by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) quarterly over the years 1999–2020. PLFS consists of several levels of data on an individual basis, such as wages, working days, employment status, educational attainment, and demographics data, in addition to numerous sectoral and industrial categories. Other data provided by several sources will be merged with this reach and comprehensive dataset.

The project partner is the Palestinian Agricultural Development Association, a Palestinian NGO that aims to develop the agricultural sector, strengthen the resilience of farmers, reach out to the poor and marginalized groups and their families, mobilize and develop the capabilities of rural people to enable them to control their resources, through the work of distinguished professional teams and loyal volunteers. In addition, Sameh hopes to attend workshops with individuals, farmers and some crops agriculture associations to better understand their main challenges. Ultimately, there will be two workshops to present the findings. The first with the direct beneficiaries of the partner institutions to shed light on the importance of the agriculture sector in the sustainable process for the Palestinian community. The second one will discuss the research's main findings in a more academic setting and with policymakers from relevant official departments.

The measurement will rely on a quasi-natural experiment using the periodical variation (quarterly, semiannual, and annual) of climate change indicators on sectoral labor reallocation and other labor market indicators. Further, the research will investigate to impact of climate change on farmers' preference toward a specific type of agriculture, such as tobacco. During the recent period, the area of land cultivated with tobacco increased from 600 square kilometers in 2005 to 3,000 square kilometers in 2016 (MAS, 2019). While tobacco is cheaper, easier to grow, and requires less water than most other crops, the move towards tobacco farming has drastically reduced the production of food crops in what was once the food basket of the West Bank. As a result, the Palestinian markets are dumped by Israeli products, mostly fruit, and vegetables, which the hard for the Palestinian products to compete regarding prices. Further, the research will shed light on other labor market indicators because of sectoral reallocation from the agriculture sector to other economic activities such as (1) the wages, employment status, and a number of hours worked of the workers in the agriculture sector (2) increase the percentage of Palestinian workers in Israeli in the agriculture sector.