Anera’s agricultural program aims at helping farmers in Akkar get a head start on a better future
Lebanon has the highest proportion of cultivable land, per capita, in the Arab world. But food insecurity remains a serious problem. Ineffective agricultural policies and poorly managed practices increase the challenge of providing enough locally-produced food at reasonable prices for Lebanon’s population. Imported vegetables and fruits were often much cheaper than local produce. And that has cost Lebanese farmers a lot in terms of lost crops and revenue.
Now the economic collapse has forced families to again rely on local produce because they can no longer afford the cost of imported goods. Food security is threatened. More than ever, Lebanon must revive its agricultural sector to survive. International assistance is a key to making that happen.
Anera’s agricultural project in the northern district of Akkar provides Lebanese farmers with the technical capacity and resources to increase production and enhance the quality of their produce.
How? By hiring agricultural experts, building new greenhouses and providing farmers with the necessary seeds and materials to get started. In return, the farmers are hiring Syrian refugee laborers to work in their greenhouses. In this way, Anera is helping Lebanese farmers and providing some work and income for Syrian refugees stranded in Lebanon because of the legacy of the civil war back home. This program is made possible thanks to a generous private donor.
Akkar resident Nahla is hopeful for a better future for her family and her farm. “With Anera’s help, I planted cucumbers in my new greenhouse and now I’m benefiting financially from my yield.”
And, Nahla adds, it will help him pay for her daughters’ education too. “My two daughters are my world and I will do everything to keep them in school and continue their education. This project can help me do that.”
“My two daughters are my world and I will do everything to keep them in school and continue their education. This project can help me do that.”
The 40-year-old mother spends most of her day in the field caring for her cucumber vines and other vegetables she has planted with help from Anera’s agricultural expert and Nahla’s new mentor. “Faten taught me how to take care of the seedlings and plants in order to maximize their benefit and keep them free of disease.”
Anera’s team in Lebanon focuses on long-term, sustainable solutions for the agricultural community, providing the tools and know-how so farmers can succeed on their own. “Investing in sustainable agricultural solutions and practices is essential for Lebanon now and in the future,” explains Anera's country director in Lebanon, Samar El-Yassir.
“By supporting farmers and agricultural workers and expanding agricultural lands with new greenhouses, we can address the food security crisis and help improve the livelihood of Lebanon’s people and economy.”
Marwan is also benefiting from Anera’s program. “I used to work in the agricultural field but did not have much experience. Bad habits harmed the crops and the land, like using the wrong pesticides. Thanks to Anera’s agricultural engineer Mrs. Faten, we know how to better manage our land and increase our production.”
"Thanks to Anera’s agricultural engineer Mrs.Fate, we know how to better manage our land and increase our production."
Anera, with the support of its donors, is directly helping Lebanese farmers improve and expand their production. In return, the farmers hire out-of-work Syrian refugees. The project touches many lives and promotes a better sense of community among Akkar’s diverse populations.
As a farmer, Marwan acknowledges the benefits don’t happen overnight, but he is more optimistic now than ever before. “I treat the crops as I treat my seven children — with patience and care. These crops will provide us with food and income, and through them I hope to secure a decent life for myself and my family.”