ANERA is working with farming families in Lebanon who operate on a small scale and depend on agriculture as their sole income.
The 2006 war in Lebanon did damage to their production capacity and farmers are facing high production costs. They also are unable to compete in terms of the quality and value of their produce, having relied on traditional fruits that don’t garner high prices on the market.
By distributing more than 6,000 trees throughout the war-torn Upper Baalbeck and Hasbaya areas of Lebanon, ANERA is helping farmers raise their level of income through cultivating high-value crops such as almonds, plums, cherries, peaches, pomegranates, apples, pears and olives.
ANERA’s is helping farmers grow more, better quality fruit at a lower cost, allowing them to provide for the families.
This farmer is planting the apple tree saplings he received as part of the project.
We met Joseph Ishaq at a training event called How to Fight Fruit Tree Diseases. Joseph is the recipient of 60 apple tree saplings through a joint ANERA and YMCA program in Lebanon.
Joseph lives in the village of Deir Ahmar with his wife and five children. Typical of many people in the area, he supported himself by holding several maintenance jobs. In order to exercise more freedom and for additional income, he began farming.
Four years ago Joseph planted two and a half acres of grapes that he now sells to local wine producers. Because this alone was not bringing him enough income to support his family, he considered moving to the city, where he could get a better paying job. Luckily, ANERA’s project has allowed him to expand his production so he can stay in the area. He received 60 apple saplings that he planted on half an acre of newly reclaimed land with the help of YMCA agricultural engineers. He hopes to increase his fruit tree holdings further.
On top of receiving fruit tree saplings, 100 farmers have attended seminars on topics such as fruit tree production, marketing, weeds, diseases, and pest control, and received technical assistance from the experts at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and the YMCA.
Lebanon’s agricultural sector suffered terribly from the wars and disruption of the last 35 years. This collaborative effort of ANERA, the YMCA, and AUB seeks to help people living in rural areas find sustainable livelihoods and revitalize the agricultural sector, so that farmers like Joseph can care for themselves and their families.
During the war in 2006, hundreds of acres of forest were lost to fires and several thousand acres of agricultural land were littered with cluster bombs and unexploded ordnance. For families in South Lebanon the devastation of homes, schools, and infrastructure was further compounded by the danger of these ordnances.
ANERA, with its local partner, the Association for Forests, Development, and Conservation (AFDC), worked with local communities to help protect and manage their environment. AFDC’s Reforestation Program trained volunteer units in local communities to fight forest fires, maintain protected areas, run environmental education in the community and help with reforestation projects.