Improves Production for Small-Scale Fruit Growers in Akkar Highlands
Duration: January 14, 2019 – May 31, 2019
Budget and Donors:
Total amount: 21.052 $.
19.957 $ granted by the Direct Aid Program of the Australian Embassy in Beirut.
1.095 $ by Mada Association.
Despite having significant potential, agriculture in Lebanon faces numerous challenges, significantly resulting in reliance on food imports. Governmental neglect, limited financial resources, outdated practices, and a lack of extension services and research programs, are exacerbated by the impacts of climate change. In Akkar, one of the most deprived governorates, socio-economic conditions deteriorated further following the refugee crisis, and small-scale farmers struggled to generate marketable products to compete with cheaper imports, under increasingly unpredictable climate conditions. In its highlands, fruit production is characterized by low diversification, limited commercialization, vulnerability to diseases, and handling and post-harvesting difficulties.
A shift is required to maintain the viability of the sector and food security, while rendering the production system efficient and sustainable. Therefore, the introduction of new varieties and techniques is crucial to support the livelihoods of rural populations. These increase product diversification, crop resistance, and in turn both marketability and profitability. As the topography of the Akkar Highlands allows for new practices, demonstration programs have strong potential to empower farming communities by practically illustrating the results of good practices in comparison to others. Through first-hand applications, farmers can be exposed to new techniques and varieties which they would otherwise be reluctant to adopt.
The two main objectives are:
1 – to improve farmers’ knowledge on Good Agricultural Practices and new practices (treillis)
2 – to Increase awareness on the benefits of produce diversification
The activities related to the project were:
– Implementation of 12 training sessions on good agricultural practices in stone and pome fruits production (Orchard Establishment
– Rehabilitation of old and damaged trees – soil and water irrigation management
– Fertilization and plant nutrition
– Diseases and integrated pest management – Pruning and Grafting)
Organization of 10 support and follow-up visits
Establishment of two demonstration plots – (1 dunum each) in 2 villages of Akkar Highlands (Akkar el Atika and Beit Ayoub) to practically illustrate the results and benefits of new varieties and techniques. The two selected crops are pear and cherry to help diversify the orchards in the region which are still mostly composed of apples.
– 187 small-scale fruit growers aged between 20 and 55 from the villages of Mechmech and Fneideq and surroundings improved their knowledge on good agricultural practices;
– 2 farmers benefited from the establishment of demonstration plots on their lands;
Indirectly, the project has reached more than 150 farmers from the villages and their surroundings who now benefit from the new demonstration plots through increased awareness about new techniques and varieties.