The increasing gap between the demand for water and the supply of water is negatively affecting the area of Deir Al Ahmar in Lebanon. Because of this, water shortage remains a big challenge to the future of the agricultural sector. To support Deir Al Ahmar MASAR-VNG International defined 2 main levels of actions:
1- Maintaining and upgrading the irrigation network connected to the hill lakes
2- Creating an agricultural demo plot to introduce new agricultural crops and techniques
In January 2020 and September 2022, MASAR supported the installation of the irrigation network to Link the three hill lakes of Bechwat, Btedhei and Rweiss to the irrigation network while providing a solar pumping system to the well of Ainata to cut down on fuel. 462Agricultural plots in Btedhei, Bechwat & Ainata villages benefit from their terrain now having easier access to water.
For the agricultural demo plot, the MASAR-VNG International team identified two demonstration components:
- Generate and secure good operation of an agricultural demo plot to introduce new crops and techniques
- Supply an oil extracting machine for the aromatic & medicinal herbs
8 hill lakes operators and the municipal irrigation committee at the Union level and 22 farmers took part in a series of training sessions and on hill lake management (cleaning, distribution, filtration), maintenance of irrigation networks, measurement of the hill lakes’ capacity, data collection, safety management and reporting.
In July 2021 an oil extraction machine was installed and in August the parameters of the different medicinal plant varieties were set. The process this machine uses has many advantages for producers, industrial businesses and consumers as the extracted essential oils retain their original aromas and characteristics.
Around 35 Syrian refugees and host communities participated in employability, vocational and entrepreneurial skills training programmes.to implement, operate, and maintain a similar project.
To ensure the sustainability of the demonstration plot, the Union signed a memorandum of understanding with the Sainte Famille Maronite Church responsible for the “Notre Dame de la Tour” school (owner of the plot), under which the Union will manage and operate the plot till end of 2025. This demonstration plot will promote modern crops and farming methods and will serve the students and the broader agricultural community, ensuring more efficient use of land and water.