March 11, 2024

USAID’s Community Support Program Boosts Olive Oil Production at the Akroum Olive Cooperative

Jabal Akroum is a cluster of seven remote villages in northern Akkar, home to around 10,000 Lebanese residents and 5,600 refugees who mainly rely on agriculture as a primary source of income. As the area is rich in olive farms, the community established a cooperative for the production and processing of olives in Akroum and its surroundings as a collective effort to enhance production and improve sales by supporting small-scale farmers with low-cost pressing fees.

In December 2020, to further support farmer livelihoods following the 2019 economic crisis, the USAID-funded Community Support Program (CSP) provided the cooperative with a centrifuging machine, a wastewater treatment system, and a 150 KVA generator to ensure power supply amid prolonged state-electricity cuts. This assistance has enhanced the cooperative’s production capacity, leading to a 50% decrease in olive pressing costs whilst mitigating harm to the environment. So far in 2024, the cooperative was able to press 40,000 liters of olive oil to meet rising demands, generating an additional income of $7,000 from pressing fees. This intervention has also reduced transportation expenses for Akroum farmers, who previously had to travel an average of 50 km to reach the nearest olive press outside their region.

“This vital project has enabled us to keep our pressing fees at a minimum throughout the economic crisis, ensuring the satisfaction of all farmers; we are receiving greater amounts of olives every year and we can still handle a lot more!” said Ali Esber, head of the cooperative.

Increased olive stacks waiting to be pressed at the USAID/CSP expanded Cooperative of Akroum – July 2023


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