Local Resources for Rural Economic Growth in Akkar - Rural development and sustainable agriculture
- 2014-01-01Start Date
- 2015-12-31End Date
- Download Oregano Guide Download
“Local Resources for Rural Economic Growth in Akkar” is a two-year project which started in January 2014, funded by the EU, under the supervision of the Office of the Minister of State for Administrative Reform (OMSAR) in Lebanon.
Safadi Foundation carried out this project in collaboration with the Spanish organization AIDA, with the aim of promoting economic development of Lebanese rural communities by increasing equal access to livelihood opportunities, in order to combat the phenomenon of chronic poverty especially in Akkar region.
The project consists of two main components: the establishment of Oregano production units to ensure additional income throughout the year, and the creation of drying unit for fruits and vegetables to improve the commercial value of agricultural products.
The first phase consists of selection of women beneficiaries. A baseline study was carried out, and records from 70 potential villages, as well as data of 531 potential women beneficiaries, were collected, registered and analyzed. Subsequently, based on a set of selection criteria, 85 women were identified as final beneficiaries for the action These women were later on divided into two groups that participated in project’s activities respectively during the first and the second years of implementation.
The selected women underwent several training sessions introducing the principles of Oregano production and crop management, and included, as well, practical sections on seedlings preparation and plantation. They have also been taught the concepts of effective participation, the importance of “bottom-up” approaches in development and the economic value of their involvement in productive development and resources. Through this program, women acquired all necessary skills to become able to establish their home-based herb production units.
These units were afterwards established through land preparation, installation of drip irrigation systems, and distribution of seedlings for women benefiting from the action. Women beneficiaries started managing their production using a plan designed by the work team, and serves as guide and record keeping booklet for crop management.
Along with the establishment of the production units, technical assistance was guaranteed for beneficiaries, through periodical site visits, in a way to maintain close monitoring with Oregano producers. In fact, the objective of field visits was to execute close inspection on the production and interfere once it is required. In addition, through visits’ records, the performance of beneficiaries was evaluated, as well as the situation of their work units.
Subsequently, in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture, Oregano cultivation licenses were provided to 80 women producers, which help them to better commercialize their production locally and in foreign markets.
The project included a visit of seven women beneficiaries to Spain to participate in a training program on cultivation of aromatic plants, packaging and marketing, and management of cooperatives. As well, they met women's cooperatives, with whom they shared experiences, and also participated in "PRONATURA" exhibition, an international fair for rural women, where they presented their products, and were honoured and obtained certificates.
Furthermore, in order to allow women producers of Oregano, easily dry their production, and provide the consumer a clean product of high quality, the project established herb drying unit at Safadi Agriculture Center, allowing growers of fruits and vegetables in the region to increase their profits through drying their produce, and selling it out of season at high prices. Men farmers and women beneficiaries were trained on the use of the mechanical drying machine according to relevant principles.