SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 20 January 2022, Thursday |

Basatine, a trendsetter development project in the agriculture field

BASATINE, a new agricultural development project, has just been launched in Lebanon. This four-year project, with a budget of 17.7 Million EURO, is expected to support a few thousand farmers in Akkar and the Bekaa valley. Called BASATINE, the acronym stands for Bolstering Agriculture Systems’ Ability to Invest, Nourish and Employ.

BASATINE, that stands for gardens in Arabic, includes the distribution of inputs to farmers, and ensure support with numerous trainings, marketing and research through the four years enabling them on the long run to become entirely independent. This trendsetter project will notably improve and contribute to the development of the agriculture sector in Lebanon, mainly tackling cereals and pulses value chains in the selected areas of intervention.

Funded entirely by the l’Agence Française de Développement (AFD), this partnership project is led by CARE International, with the contribution of Mercy Corps, Berytech, Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST), Al-Majmoua and Georges N. Frem Foundation (GNFF).

During the kick off meeting of the project, meetings, which brought together the various partners of the consortium, were held to present the various facets of BASATINE and to discuss the coordination of the impementation, which success lies in the active contribution of all partners.

Faten Adada, project officer on local, urban and agricultural development at AFD said “Through this project amounting to 17.7M€, AFD aims at supporting the recovery of small and vulnerable farmers affected by the severe financial and economic crisis, maintaining employment opportunities and ensuring food security in the Bekaa and Akkar”.

Introducing BASATINE’s work and purpose, Bujar Hoxha, CARE International Country Director in Lebanon, highlited that “the project BASATINE allows making a breakthrough in softening crumbled Lebanon economy or how we could become a key catalyst in agriculture road recovery for Lebanon. BASATINE is

a unique program in a sense that it not only deals with the ambiguous conditions of Lebanon, but it also pioneers interventions such as Value Chain, Food systems and others. Food systems are one of the most predominating subjects in today’s humanitarian-development world. The world is suffering from scarcity in many of its corners. So we need to make the best usage of it.”

“CARE International will not compromise with complacency and passivity. Lebanese communities deserve more than ever an agile approach and we will give our all to provide them with one!”, he added.

Studies related to agriculture and focusing in particular on the challenges and the needs of the agricultural market, will be carried out, allowing thus to measure the impact and the evolution made in the sector during the four-year implementation, together with beneficiaries.

“Mercy Corps is extremely pleased to be part of this ambitious and exciting BASATINE consortium. AFD’s support and generous funding are making possible an approach that’s designed to deal with the very real challenges that farmers and agri-businesses in Lebanon are facing right now, without losing sight of longer term development ambitions to give people real hope for a better future,” said Rafael Velasquez, Country Director Mercy Corps – Lebanon.

Support will help farmers bring their products to the market and will enhance marketing initiatives.

“At Berytech, we put Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the center of the support we provide for Lebanon’s Economic Growth by supporting Entrepreneurs, and SMEs. Our objective in being part of this pioneer project, is to make our MSMEs stonger, more competitive, and focused on making our food system more resilient for an improved food security. We are proud to bring in more digitization in the sector, and look forward to a significant impact along with our partners with this project,” said Ramy Boujawdeh, Deputy General Manager at Berytech.

Lebanon, currently facing multiple crisis, shoud be able to rely on the agriculture sector to generate income and achieve food security.

“Engaging in agriculture during these harsh times that Lebanon is facing is a string of hope for many. As such, LOST sees BASATINE as a strategic solution against hunger and poverty for many vulnerabe residents in the area. It will improve the lives of numerous farmers while enhancing their livelihood and providing food security,” said Kassem Assidah, project manager at the LOST.

The project will focus on long-term investments in the agriculture sector and this does not translate only in terms of funding but also with the quality of crops used.

“After being left behind for decades, the agriculture sector is finally at the forefront of the Lebanese economy. The sector needs the support of different actors in the ecosystem to further develop and grow. Al-Majmoua is thrilled to join the BASATINE consortium that provides a holistic program designed to answer these needs. Al-Majmoua will deliver financial literacy sessions, support small farmers

and producers in the production of financial plans and investment strategies and allow for increased investments through the provision of tailored and inclusive financial services and products,” said Alia Farhat, Partnership Manager at Al-Majmoua

The farmers remain above all the center of the project.

“BASATINE is a carefully crafted and timely project, as Lebanon’s collapsing economy is exacerbating food insecurity in the country’s most vulnerable areas. The project is highly relevant to us at GNFF, as its goals and objectives are compatible with our vision to strengthen rural and local communities’ livelihoods in Lebanon. BASATINE will help us extend our support to those we already serve while reaching an even larger number of farmers and their families in the regions of Akkar and the Beqaa. We are proud and excited to be part of such a strong consortium, working together for a better Lebanon,” said Rania Frem El-Khoury, executive director of GNFF