14 million euro from the EU to enhance the performance of the Lebanese agricultural sector (04/08/2011)
H.E. Dr. Hussein El Hajj Hassan, Minister of Agriculture, H.E. Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, and Engineer Nabil el Jisr, President of the Council for Development and Reconstruction, signed today at the Ministry of Agriculture, the Financing Agreement for an Agriculture and Rural Development Programme (ARDP). The Programme is funded by the European Union with a 14 million euro grant. Its implementation period is four years.
The Agriculture and Rural Development Programme aims at supporting the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) in the implementation of its reform policies to enhance the overall performance of the agriculture sector in order to achieve sustainable food security, and to improve the livelihoods of rural and farming communities. Its specific objectives are (i) to strengthen the capacity of national institutions to work on a coherent agricultural/rural development vision and to better implement agriculture strategic orientations; and (ii) to support and empower local rural actors (farmers and cooperatives) by increasing access to credit and to infrastructure.
The main expected results of the Programme are: the strengthening of the capacities of the MoA to design, implement and monitor agricultural policies; the improvement of the quality of agricultural products; the provision of better extension services; the increase of agricultural products' competitiveness; the increase of the economic development of farmers and agricultural cooperatives through easier access to credit; together with the development of rural infrastructure (ex. building of hill lakes, rehabilitation of the Ministry's forest nurseries, etc.).
The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for the implementation of the project. A national director will ensure the project management, and will be assisted by national executives and technical expertise. The Council for Development and Reconstruction is the national coordinator of EU projects in Lebanon.
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Hussein Hajj Hassan, thanked "the European Union for their continuous support for the development of the agricultural and rural sectors in Lebanon", emphasising "the effective coordination between the MoA and the EU during all phases of the Programme formulation". He stressed "the importance of the ARDP which falls directly under the Government priorities and the MoA Strategic Framework 2011-2014, noting that the planned activities under the ARDP would complement and leverage the current MoA interventions and other donors' activities in the sector. In this regard, the Ministry will work in close collaboration with the EU and all concerned partners and provide any support needed for successful implementation of the Programme".
Ambassador Angelina Eichhorst stated that "the purpose of the programme is both to maintain and enhance the natural capital of Lebanon - starting with its water resources - while structuring the sector." "These activities - which we deliberately wanted to be practical - also reflect our determination to work on the long term and to obtain sustainable results in terms of both job creation in the agricultural sector and the fight against climate change", she added.