OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID)
OPEC bulletin 3–4/17
ers, the establishment of grading, packing and refrigera-
tion facilities and the start-up of a scheme to help local
producers purchase reasonably-priced inputs, such as
fruit trees, seeds and fertilizers.
The Lebaneseeconomyisheavilydependenton trade
and services, such as tourism, finance, housing, trans-
port and health and education.
While agriculture plays a relatively minor role in the
country’s overall economy (about six per cent of GDP in
2008 and eight per cent of the effective labour force), it
is particularly important for populations in the poorest
rural areas which depend on the sector as their primary
source of income and employment, Alhunaif explained.
Irrigation is a key requirement for agricultural produc-
tivityinmostpartsofLebanon, given the country’sprevail-
ingMediterranean climate, which features scarce rainfall
during the main summer growing season. The country’s
principal crops are citrus fruits, potatoes, tomatoes and
The proportion of poor populations in the focus areas
Lower Litani is higher than on the plains. However, these
hilly areas have good potential given that the majority of
the land is suitable (when water is available) for growing
high-value crops, such as fruit and vegetables.
This represents themainpossibility for verypoor rural
households to substantially raise their farm incomes.
Before the project, some of the focus areas were left fal-
low, due to the lack of water.
Located in Western Asia, Lebanon is bordered by
Syria to the north and east and has a coastline of about
220 kilometres on the Mediterranean Sea. It is a highly
demographicallyandgeographicallydiverse country, with
Climate, soils and vegetation differ markedly within
short distances. Generally, the coastal lowlands are hot
and humid in summer, becoming mild in winter.
In the mountains, which occupy much of Lebanon,
the weather is cool in summer with heavy snowfall in
winter.The country occupies an area ofmore than10,000
However, water scarcity, rather than land resources,
is currently limiting the expansion of agricultural produc-
tion. Water efficiency in most existing irrigation schemes
is usually quite low.
In addition, uncontrolled private well drilling and
pumping result in a significant lowering of thewater table
and increased salinity. Thus, a focus on the sustainable
management of water is vital.
Out of a total population of more than four million, it
is estimated that 20–25 per cent of the country’s popu-
lation is engaged in some form of agricultural activities.
Alhunaif explained that the development of the agri-
culture sector wasapriority since it played suchan impor-
tant role in employment and pro-poor growth.
The rise in farmers’ average incomes, directly acces-
sible water, smart water and soil management practices
and the adoption of improved agricultural techniques, is
helping to develop the project area.
The scheme also aims to improve market linkages
for small farmers via technical support services and to
strengthen the capacities of implementing agencies and
From an environmental perspective, the project is
expected to alleviate water shortages during the sum-
mer periods, increase the infiltration of run-off water
and improve the capacity of downstream aquifers that
supply either irrigated schemes and/or drinking water
Water reservoir in the
mountains of Lebanon.