Palestine Technical University Research Journal


Agriculture is not only the main source of income to most Palestinian families; it is also the link to connect them to their valuable land and water resources. Farmers seek assistance from agronomists and decision makers to cultivatethe proper products. In this study, the best selection of agricultural crops is addressed in the multiple-objective context. The study deals with three conflicting objective functions: net benefit, agricultural production, and labor employment. Four-stageprocedure is adopted combining multiple-objective optimization, simple valuation methods, cluster analysis, and multiple criteria decisions making (MCDM) methods. Pareto optimal curves are used to evaluate the marginal prices of both land area and Labor Day. The theories of utility and benefit cost are applied to rank the non-dominant alternatives. Two MCDM methods, namely weighted goal programming and step methods, are employed in the evaluation. The above methodology is applied to the case study of Qalqilya District in which irrigated agriculture under semi-arid conditions prevails. The results show that Pareto optimal is a powerful tool to determine the marginal price of non-monetary commodities. It is also found that the average annual net benefit, agricultural production, and labor employment for the cultivated area are $941,423, 3,288 tons, and 14,671 days, respectively, in the best compromise plan. The inclusion of socioeconomic considerations in decision making on agricultural systems is crucial for their sustainable development.