U.S Ambassador Visits the Majdel Anjar Agricultural Cooperative Supported by USAID to Enhance Local Livelihoods
The underserved agricultural village of Majdel Aanjar in the Beqaa Valley is home to around 57,500 residents, more than half of which are refugees. The town has a local agro-processing cooperative including female members; the cooperative supports local farmers and women by purchasing agricultural raw materials, processing raw material into longer-shelf-life value added products, and marketing all year round. The cooperative products include pickles, jams, and dairy products. However, the lack of equipment and a standardized processing area limited the cooperative’s ability to expand its operations to benefit more people amidst the nationwide economic crisis. In response, USAID’s Community Support Program (CSP) provided the cooperative with modern equipment to expand its production, including commercial stoves, ovens, and freezers, as well as vacuum packing machines, and fruit and vegetable dehydrators. In parallel, to ensure the sustainability of this assistance, CSP trained the cooperative members on governance, business planning, food safety, marketing, and social media management. Additionally, CSP helped the cooperative in developing high standard product labels that include barcodes and nutritional values.
On May 18, 2023, U.S Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea and the USAID/Lebanon Mission Director Mary Eileen Devitt visited Majdel Anjar to visit the cooperative and meet with its members to reflect on the impact of this intervention. Since the end of the 2022 summer season, the cooperative has been able to expand its production from five to 30 types of products, increase its production from 800 kg to 5 tons, and participate in local markets across the country to expand its consumer base.
“Thanks to USAID, we now have four production lines at the cooperative instead of one, and we have the resources to start a new catering business. We have also expanded our members from four to 29 women, who are all receiving monthly in-kind revenues equivalent to $50, which is significant considering the average household income in Majdel Anjar is $100 per month,” stated Nidal Khaled, Head of the Majdel Anjar COOP.