APN has set up a project called "Sheep Bank" in two villages southwest of Jerusalem, Wadi Fukin and Al Walaja, to provide income for Palestinian families, in light of the great demand for sheep meat and wool. “Sheep Bank” will operate in partnership with the Bethlehem Farmers’ Union and with support from the Mashruq Foundation.
APN Project Manager Mohammad Qtaishat explained that the first stage of the project will provide three farms with 17 “Assaf” sheep apiece. Assaf sheep typically have a reproductive rate of two sheep per year. The project anticipates that 80% of the offspring will be sold after five months to provide sustainable income. “Sheep Bank” targets families led by women and low-income families. A veterinarian will look after the herd of sheep.
One of the families receiving sheep is supported by a woman who cares for four family members amid difficult economic conditions. Her husband works as a farmer but does not earn enough to meet the needs of the family. While they own 7 dunams of agricultural land, 5 of those dunams are located adjacent to settlements where the occupation prevents their development.