IRD Provides Farming Equipment in Southern Lebanon
Wehbe Darwish is Moukhtar, or mayor, of Al-Bayyad, a village of 1,200 people in central southern Lebanon. With four other farmers from his village, he has come to Tyre to have lunch and pick up farming supplies.
“Today I am picking up fertilizer, pesticide, and manual sprayers for the pesticides,” said Darwish. “After I lost my equipment in the war, I wouldn’t have been able to afford this equipment so quickly, before the harvest. This will help not just me but many other small farmers in the village.”
Darwish and other farmers have received their equipment through the UK Department for International Development-funded IRD emergency livelihood recovery project in southern Lebanon. The project helps people from 10 villages in the region recover from the July war by providing cash for work, farming supplies, small business grants, and vocational training. In particular, over 60 different types of farming supplies have been provided to 870 local farmers through $495 worth of program vouchers that can be redeemed at the Tyre branch of Debbane, a popular farming supply store in Lebanon.
“Farmers have used the vouchers for everything from water pumps to beekeeping suits,” said Hassan Ghorrayeb, who manages the Tyre Debbane supplier. “In many cases this is just replacing equipment destroyed during the war so they can have a crop to harvest this year. But often the equipment is better quality than they would have had before, and they can produce more.”
In Zabqine, a small farming village about 15 kilometers outside of Tyre, tobacco farmer Ahmad Bzaih talks about how he has been able to improve his farming technique, with both the better-quality equipment and technical assistance provided through the project.
“Before, some plants would survive in the field and some would not,” said Bzaih. “Now, I use the proper fertilizer and protective covering on a much smaller incubation field, and only move the best plants to my regular fields. This year my harvest will be better.”