ICARDA initiative supports Syrian refugees host communities in Lebanon
Qab Elias, Lebanon, 26 June 2019 – Water and crop scientists and sociologists from ICARDA and the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI) delivered a training workshop to 35 farmers and 16 Syrian researchers from different Syrian provinces on tested modern water techniques, highlighting the important role that women play in the agricultural sector. The third in a series of training sessions, the workshop is part of the project ‘Social Stabilization Through Comprehensive Agricultural Support for Refugee Host Communities,’ funded by the Japanese government.
Qab Elias municipality hosts an estimated 45,000 Syrian refugees, in addition to its resident population of 100,000, and spans a 43 km2 area. Due to the massive influx of refugees and the demand for irrigation water has rapidly increased, leaving the municipality with a tremendous challenge: water scarcity. This challenge is exacerbated by the worsening impacts of climate change.
The main source of income in Qab Elias is agriculture. But, with few water resources, and rising social instability amongst residents, the project aims to not only improve on-farm irrigation and agricultural practices, thereby enhancing farmer incomes and livelihoods, but also to enhance social harmony through the capacity development of farmers.
Jihad Al-Mealem, the municipality’s mayor, opened the training workshop by welcoming the farmers and expressing his gratitude to ICARDA and its partners for their efforts to increase water productivity and yields of farmers. He also commented:
"In a world moving towards desertification and drought because of climate change, Qab Elias is extremely grateful for the efforts exerted in implementing the durable drip irrigation systems and exchanging new research and modern irrigation techniques with farmers."
During the workshop, farmers were trained on the following topics:
- Drip irrigation for higher efficiency and the production of vegetables;
- Improved surface irrigation, specifically the “raised-bed system”;
- More efficient water use;
- The important role women play in agriculture.
These issues follow those introduced during the first and second workshops, including:
- Improved and sustainable agriculture with less water;
- Farms selection and technology identification;
- Factors for improving wheat and chickpea productivity;
- Linking formal and informal quality seed production for field crops;
- Improved varieties of faba bean and management in rainfed systems: and
- Wheat diseases and their control.
Mona Al-Qteish, a Qab Elias resident and beneficiary of the project, said, "ICARDA and LARI scientists encouraged me and trained me on how to use water efficiently. They also provided me with durable drip irrigation systems, which has led to an increase in yields and income."
The training concluded with a field visit to one of the project’s sites in Qab Elias where the drip irrigation system has been installed. ICARDA implemented the systems on 38 farms and provided farmers with the training needed to operate the systems.
The project is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and ICARDA in collaboration with LARI and the Municipality of Qab Elias in Bekaa, Lebanon.
Read more about the project: