A paved road and water reservoirs make dreams come true
01 July 2019
A World Food Programme (WFP) construction project brings hope to smallholder farmers and boosts small agribusinesses in Lebanon’s Chouf.
Behind a table stacked with crates of fruit and vegetables, sits 63-year-old farmer Ghazi. He talks about his dream of a bigger table, that groans under the weight of jars of his homemade jams. He has had the dream of mass-selling his produce for years, but hadn’t able to access his fields without a huge trek. With age, that trek has become more troublesome, and combined with unreliable irrigation, he’s had to put a dampener on his artisanal ambitions and make do with the few crops he can harvest.
That all is history now after the completion of a WFP’s construction project. Over months, Lebanese and Syrians have worked together to construct agricultural roads with supporting walls, irrigation canals and water reservoirs, all to help boost the local agricultural industry.
Ghazi and 84 Lebanese farmers, are all benefiting from the project in Haret Jadal village, nestled in Lebanon’s verdant Chouf region.
“We had to carry all of our tools up the hill and all of the produce down the hill. Can you imagine how long it took us to harvest the crops?” he said letting out a frustrated laugh.
Only recently finished, the irrigation canals and the reservoirs have already made a significant difference for farmers. “It wasn’t just the tools — it was all the water too! What a hassle,” Ghazi recanted.
At some point he designed a network of pipes to push water up the hill, but “that wasn’t practical at all” he explained.
Ghazi has a small shop downhill where he sells some of his produce that are stacked on numerous shelves. It looks impressive but he assured me that now he can better access and irrigate his fields, his dream of tables in the middle of the shop are not far off. He assured me that they will be stacked high with jars, bottles and boxes of his pickles, jams, juices and olives.
“Can you imagine the potential!” he gestured inside the room.
Thanks to funds from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Ghazi’s dream of a bustling shop is becoming a reality.
Since 2018, WFP’s livelihood projects have included the construction of 100 kilometers of agricultural roads and irrigation in Lebanon. In addition, other livelihood project included the planting of 135,000 native seedlings, helping to green the country. They are all designed with local municipalities and aim to make WFP’s ambition of a #ZeroHunger world, a little easier to reach.