For the first time ever, Palestinian farmer in Gaza Strip succeeds in cultivating red corn

For the first time ever, Palestinian farmer in Gaza Strip succeeds in cultivating red corn
Mohammed Abu Lahia, a farmer from Beit Lahia in northern Gaza, told The New Arab that he started his adventure by planting red corn two months ago.
3 min read
24 July, 2023
Palestinian farmer successes in cultivating red corn in besieged coastal enclave. [Getty]

For the first-ever time, a Palestinian farmer from the besieged coastal enclave has succeeded in cultivating red corn on his farm, allowing his community to enjoy its delicious taste.

Mohammed Abu Lahia, a farmer from Beit Lahia in northern Gaza, said to The New Arab that he started his adventure in planting red corn two months ago, and he cropped his first batch, which he then passed on for free to his friends and relatives.

"For Gazans, it was a fantasy to see and eat red corn (…) initially, they thought that I coloured my fruits which pushed them to be worried about eating them, but later (when they ate them), a lot of people asked me to cultivate more to let them enjoy its delicious taste," the 39-year-old father of four said.

Abu Lahia explained that he was initially sceptical when his friend Mohammed Abu Ziada told him he planned to bring red corn seeds from China to Gaza and plant them. 

"But, as I have been working in the farming field since I was a little child and helped my father farm our land, I know that the land would produce everything. So, I decided to join this crazy adventure," Abu Lahia said to TNA.

To be aware of all information about red corn, Abu Lahia spent many hours a day searching for the differences between it and the usual yellow one found in markets.

"Red corn is a source of fibre that regulates the digestive tract. It also has vitamin A to maintain healthy organ functioning and calcium to build strong bones and teeth," he noted. "The kernels also provide vitamin C to strengthen the immune system while reducing inflammation, iron to develop the protein haemoglobin for oxygen transport through the bloodstream, potassium to balance fluid levels within the body and other nutrients, including manganese, zinc, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium."

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"The coloured kernels also contain anthocyanins, pigmented compounds naturally found in the kernels that have antioxidant properties to protect the cells against free radical damage and inflammation," he added. 

Based on all these benefits, the young farmer decided to cultivate seeds of red corn and allow his community to try it.

"Cultivating red corn was very easy and crowned with success. It does not need much water for the irrigation process. It can deal with all-weather factors, and its need for fertilizer is low compared to other crops, in addition to the possibility of planting it in all seasons of the year," he said. 

Abu Lahia is going to harvest his crops of red corn in ten days at most, and he will sell them to his clients to make some money that would help him keep his family afloat, as he hopes. 

Sabrina Abu Jabal, a Gaza-based woman, expressed much anticipation to be able to taste the red corn, soon to be harvested by Abu Lahia. "I saw many pictures of the new product of the red corn on social media platforms, but I was not fortunate enough to find any yet," the 35-year-old mother of two told TNA.

She hoped to witness other types of corn that adults and children desire to be available in the local market in the Gaza Strip.