ILO and FAO in Lebanon, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, join forces to support vulnerable farmers through agricultural inputs voucher scheme

The collaboration will support small-scale famers to meet their basic agricultural needs, contributing to safeguarding jobs and promoting decent employment for Lebanese host community members and Syrian refugees employed in the agricultural sector.

News | 01 September 2021
Beirut, Lebanon - The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Lebanon, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, have joined forces to provide selected farmers in Lebanon with vouchers for agricultural inputs, in efforts to support small-scale famers to meet their basic agricultural needs.

The agricultural sector in Lebanon offers livelihood opportunities for both Lebanese host community members and Syrian refugees. Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic and the on-going financial crisis in Lebanon have resulted in the inability of farmers to obtain basic agricultural inputs, threatening livelihoods of the most vulnerable communities, as well as overall food security in the country. 

"In light of the worsening crises in Lebanon, the Ministry of Agriculture continues with it efforts and collaboration with international organizations and donor countries to enhance the resilience of farmers and the sustainability of their agricultural production,” said Minister of Agriculture, Abbas Mortada. “Together with FAO and ILO, we are launching today a new initiative, which is funded by the Government of the Netherlands and which targets around 500 male and female farmers in areas most in need of support. This initiative falls within the agricultural input voucher programme, which is one of the leading programmes under the Lebanon National Agriculture Strategy (2020–2025), and which is implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, in collaboration with and support of international organizations and donor countries. This programme is considered a key priority during the crisis, not only to reduce poverty and food security risks, but also to ensure the sustainability of farmers and producers, who form the basis of the agricultural and food sector. We thank everyone who contributed to this initiative, which is essential in supporting the agricultural and food sector in Lebanon.”

The collaboration between the two UN agencies, which is based on the established FAO agricultural inputs voucher scheme, will support 500 Lebanese vulnerable farmers from Akkar, North Lebanon, Bekaa and Baalbeck-Hermel to obtain agricultural inputs, such as seeds and fertilizers that are needed to maintain production. It will contribute to safeguarding jobs of farmers as well as the workers they employ.

“The ILO is committed to promoting decent work in Lebanon for both vulnerable Lebanese communities and Syrian refugees,” said ILO Regional Director for Arab States Ruba Jaradat. “In the current context, this primarily means safeguarding jobs threatened by the ongoing financial and economic crisis in the country and, at the same time, improving working conditions. We are very pleased to collaborate with FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture on this initiative which will allow vulnerable farmers to maintain production, and thus safeguard their livelihoods as well as those of their workers.”

“The agricultural inputs voucher scheme is being successfully implemented by FAO throughout Lebanon” said the FAO Representative in Lebanon Maurice Saade. “This collaboration with ILO will allow FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture to support an additional number of vulnerable farmers to maintain their agricultural production, sustain their livelihoods and enhance food security.”

The ILO plans to build on this initiative and support selected farmers in improving management of their farms as well as Occupational Safety and Health of farm workers. This work complements wider efforts by the ILO under the “Partnership for improving Prospects for forcibly displaced persons and host communities," also known as ”PROSPECTS” , a global partnership, spearheaded by the Government of the Netherlands. Under the programme, the ILO is promoting the development of market relevant skills, enhancing employment placement services and labour market governance, promoting strengthened and more inclusive social protection schemes, and supporting micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) with a focus on the agricultural sector.

“The support to the Lebanese people to continue and ensure their food production remains essential. The Netherlands sees this project as well as a contribution to strengthening the productive sector in Lebanon. The agricultural sector can play an important role in economic recovery for Lebanon. And where agriculture is at stake, it seems logical that the Netherlands are involved. The collaboration with ILO and FAO through financial support of the Netherlands is a positive illustration of that commitment, ” says Ambassador Hans Peter van der Woude of the Embassy of the Netherlands.

PROSPECTS also brings together the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank. The programme supports education, employment and protection in eight countries across the East and the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, including Lebanon.