In 1993, when the Ministry of Agriculture distributed pesticides to combat Peacock Eye Leaf disease in olives orchids for farmers in North Lebanon , Green Line accompanied this event through awareness campaigns (seminars and workshops). Green Line took the lead, in 1994-1995, to assess the use and abuse of pesticides in Lebanon . The results of a wide survey were alarming, confirming the excessive use of pesticides throughout the country and the complete lack of control measures.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES:
- To reduce the use of chemicals in agricultural practices.
- Seminars and workshops for farmers in North Lebanon about the safety and handling procedures of the usage of pesticides against Peacock Eye Leaf disease in olive orchids
- Survey on the use and abuse of farmers for pesticides in Lebanon and compilation into a handout
- Pilot study, project demonstration of Integrated Pest Management practices to farmers in 3 different regions (North, South and Mount Lebanon ) over a period of 3 years
- Green Line secured a grant from the Canada Fund to demonstrate Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices to farmers in 4 regions over a period of 3 years
- National workshop for stakeholders (MoE, MoA, Modisplaced/ universities: AUB, LU, research centers: ICARDA, LNCRS/ agricultural companies/ NGOs)
This demonstration project led to the establishment of an Organic Farming Committee composed of farmers, engineers, retailers and consumer representatives.
The Organic Farming Committee was born in 1999 extending from the Integrated Crop Management project, which was a joint project between Green Line and The Canada Fund for local initiatives (96-00).
The main objectives of the Organic Farming project (1999-2001) funded by Novib were to encourage organic farming practices in Lebanon, to coordinate work with organic farming institutions in the Mediterranean area, and ultimately to establish a cooperative which purpose is to deal with matters related to Lebanese organic farmers and organic farming materials.
The Organic Farming project resulted in:
- The introduction of many organic procedures for pest control.
- The distribution of 6,000 food traps for olive fruit fly control to farmers, municipalities and cooperatives all over Lebanon
- The organization of the first workshop about organic farming for organic farmers, manufacturers of organic products and distributors in Lebanon
- The coordination with IFOAM (AgriBioMEditerranean) in many projects that lead to :
- Training of 2 agricultural engineers in Switzerland on organic apple production
- Training of 2 agricultural engineers in France on organic grape production
- Training of 2 agricultural engineers in Turkey on principles of organic agriculture
- Training of 1 agricultural engineers in Italy on Certification of Organic products
- Training of 20 agricultural engineers in Lebanon on Organic production of apple
- Training of 20 agricultural engineers in Lebanon on composting and soil testing
- Conducting many seminars about organic farming for interested people all over Lebanon .
- The establishment of the first coop (Biocoop Lubnan) for organic farmers in Lebanon based in Beirut to serve all over Lebanon .
- In 2002, the organic farming committee and BioCoop Loubnan organized the second national meeting entitled “Organic Agriculture in the Middle East and the Side Effects of Chemical Fertilizers and Synthetic Pesticides”. During four sessions, national and international speakers discussed the impacts of experiences from Egypt , Tunis and Italy , the organization of the sector of organic farming at International level.
- The Organic Farming committee along with BioCoop Loubnan contacted a French Certification Organization “Qualite France”, a French association for quality control, management and promotion of organic products for assistance in certification of organic produce. Qualite France sent one of its engineers in March 2002, an organic farming inspector, Mr. Gilles Billon, who introduced the concept of organic agriculture certification to Lebanese farmers and controlled 8 organic farmers, members of BioCoop Loubnan. During his 10-days visit, the French inspector started training an agricultural engineer from Green Line on inspection rules.