Rural Dryland Development through Innovative Market Approaches, Financing Strategies and Local Initiatives for UNCCD Implementation
The project aims at providing policy advice, technical support and catalytic funding to the Ministry of Agriculture in order to:
Strengthen the institutional framework for CCD implementation including the integration of drylands issues into national development frameworks/programmes;
Explore innovative mechanisms for financing NAP priority areas primarily debt for nature swaps (component implemented in collaboration with the Global Mechanism);
Enhance access for drylands products and services to national, regional and EU markets.
The main achievements of the project can be summarized as follows:
Strengthening the institutional framework for CCD implementation including the integration of drylands issues into national development frameworks/programmes:
An Umbrella "Sustainable Land Management" (SLM) Programme was established at the Ministry of Agriculture; it serves as the framework for all projects related to CCD implementation and drylands development . The result is enhanced coordination/synergy among CCD initiatives in Lebanon, leading to the mobilization of partners and significant resources for drylands development (Spain, Finland, Global Mechanism of the CCD, GEF).
Exploring innovative mechanisms for financing NAP priority areas primarily debt for nature swaps (component implemented in collaboration with the Global Mechanism)
The project contributed to the elaboration a Resource Mobilization Strategy for UNCCD/NAP Implementation funded by the Global Mechanism of the CCD. The strategy serves as a guiding framework for locating and developing a mix of financial resources to fund CCD-related programs and projects. While helping to develop the appropriate blend of funds, namely internal, external and innovative, the strategy also uncovers potential barriers in resource identification, allocation, investment and disbursement and recommends a number of actions for overcoming identified barriers in the enabling environment.
Enhancing access for drylands products and services to national, regional and EU markets
In its efforts to enhance market access for drylands products, the project supported the following interventions: 1) Building the capacity of small/women cooperatives to better respond to market demand (quality standard, value-adding, packaging); 2) Establishing links with markets at the national, regional and international levels; and 3) Promoting ecotourism in selected dryland communities.
Progress achieved to date by Atayeb el Rif (the NGO implementing market access activities) includes the following:
- Organization of a visit to Deir El Ahmar (Beka’a Valley) for traders, tour operators and representatives of institutions who set norms and standards. 15 participants were involved in the visit and met with representatives of 4 cooperatives.
- Development of the brand name “The Village” and design of a logo and label for dryland products. “The Village” will be used to market products from all the coops in the dryland areas of Lebanon.
- Participation of Atayeb El Rif in the trade exhibition “Le Liban en France” held from 28 till 30 October 2011 at the prestigious Palais des Congrès in Paris and which served to introduce and test the dryland products in terms of taste and size of container with the French consumers. 120 exhibitors were present; side events included an opening by the Governor of Central Bank Mr. Riad Salamé. On the side of the trade expo, Atayeb el Rif also organized meetings with distributors in France for potential export.
- Agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture to participate in an exhibition in a Gulf country either Kuwait or Abu Dhabi.
- Mapping of coops in Lebanon to be printed as a hardcopy map and potentially put on GPS navigators such as NAVLEB.
- Atayeb el Rif is currently exploring joining the Association of Lebanese Industrialists for a wider exposure and benefits in trade exhibitions.
Planned activities can be outlined as follows:
- Promoting the cooperatives and their products at the national level: this can be achieved through the organization of visits for potential traders and relevant actors in the supply chain to the targeted cooperatives to build their trust in the quality of the produce and to enable the cooperatives to get feedback which will enable them to further develop their marketing strategies, and through the set-up of a mobile exhibition unit to help introduce the products to the Lebanese market.
- Promoting the cooperatives and their products at the international level: this can be achieved through participation in 1 or 2 international exhibitions to enable the cooperatives to identify new market trends and demands, test their products and marketing strategies, and promote their products.
- Providing logistical and financial marketing support to the cooperatives: this can be achieved through the set-up of a credit facilitiy to help both cooperative members and buyers, through the procurement of a truck which will facilitiate access to local markets and quick and efficient response to market needs, and through preparation of forecasts of production calendars and their synchronization with market demand and potential outlets.
- Improving the image of the cooperatives’ products: this can be achieved through the development of a single label and logo for the products of the dryland cooperatives sold at national and international events with the objective to improve labeling and packaging and to enhance the image and credibility of the products of the cooperatives in the marketplace.
- Building the technical capacity of MAP cooperatives: through the preparation of training modules to be administered to the cooperatives who deal with medicinal and aromatic plants on the following topics: i) Administrative, management, financial issues for cooperatives; ii) Practical marketing issues for cooperative products; iii) General Good Hygiene Practices / Good Manufacturing Practices; iv) Herb post harvest quality control issues.