CSP Kicks off Additional Works in Saidoun (South) to Enhance Farmer Accessibility to USAID-Provided Agricultural Equipment
The Saidoun cluster in Jezzine, South Lebanon, is a collection of five agricultural villages — Deir Qattine, Hidab, Rimate, Saidoun, and Sanaya — with a total population of 2,700 Lebanese residents and 300 refugees. The cluster is served by a local cooperative (COOP) that supports farmers through initiatives such as distributing seedlings and helping with irrigation. The ongoing national economic crisis led to the return of many people from cities to their villages, including the Saidoun cluster, to take up farming. This increased competition for agricultural equipment that is not available in rural areas, forcing farmers in Saidoun to rent from the distant Saida city. Additionally, the spike in demand has increased rental prices, which, coupled with rising production costs and the devaluation of the local currency, is fueling communal tensions over livelihood. In response, USAID’s Community Support Program (CSP) supplied the Saidoun agricultural COOP with agricultural equipment, including five walk-behind rotary tillers, two pull-behind trailers, nine electric pruning/harvesting shears, six mechanical olive harvesters, twelve olive harvesting nets, and 200 crates. Moreover, CSP installed a prefabricated room for safe and proper equipment storage.
On July 10, CSP initiated a set of additional works identified with the Saidoun COOP that include the provision of tents and fencing to enable the storage of the CSP-provided rotary tillers outside the prefabricated room during the summer season. This will immensely facilitate farmers’ daily work and reduce floor damage in the prefabricated room. Works included delivery of site material, preparation of steelwork, excavation, and casting of concrete footings. This activity is improving the livelihoods of around 120 small-scale farmers through affordable access to modern equipment, improvement in agricultural practices, and reduction of production costs.
“These additional works are very timely in facilitating the use and access to rotary tillers during the summer season when the demand for these equipment peaks”, said Charbel Khawand, Head of the Saidoun COOP.