In the hilly areas that have been neglected – and/or affected by the July 2006 war – the project addresses opportunities for farmers to increase their output and income through:
- raising agricultural productivity, improving quality of products and lowering production costs for existing farming systems, which are based mostly on fruits and vegetables;
- adding value through post-harvest support services to increase farm profitability and income; and
- enhancing processing and marketing services with local enterprises and generating employment to assist those without sufficient land resources.
The solution’s design includes:
- improvements in soil and water management and development of small and medium-size water harvesting and soil and water conservation measures;
- improvements in agricultural productivity and market linkages for small farmers by provision of technical support services; and
- strengthening the capacities of the project implementing agencies and farmer organizations.
Focus areas of the project were selected based on the following criteria:
- Areas affected by the war
- Areas with limited agricultural productivity capabilities
- Areas most vulnerable to desertification.
Sustainable water harvesting and efficient use of excess runoff and spring flow, in addition to soil and water conservation measures and modern irrigation are considered as climate change enabling activities supporting long-term and short-term mitigation measures and adaptation. Water harvesting technique through small mountainous lakes are less environmentally damaging compared to bigger water dams, and thus are of relatively positive environmental impact.
Since the project implementation small hill lakes (reservoirs) have been constructed, ranging in size from 20 000 to 50 000 cubic meters, on a pilot basis, for storing water from springs, runoffs and harvested rainwater to be for irrigation by small groups of farms.
The project provided water for lands which were left fallow due to shortages of water and increased the interest in recultivating the abandoned areas and due to the project intervention:
- Cropping intensity increased and the cultivated land area increased;
- Farmers became more willing in investing in water harvesting techniques such as terracing and small concrete reservoirs;
- Increasing water harvesting coupled with the use of modern irrigation techniques at the farm level became a more economical way of increasing water availability, yields, production and income, particularly for the poor smallholders.
Partners: The Ministry of Agriculture, the Green Plan, Farmer groups and Water Users Associations, municipalities, private contractors and consultants, IFAD, OFID, Government of Lebanon
Eng. Ali El Hajj
Coordinator of Comp. 1, HASAD