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Food security a hoax without the Litani basin

24-6-2020

In its issue of today, Al Akbar newspaper wrote that Lebanese officials are busy talking about food security, while overlooking the urgency of salvaging the Litani River from the waste waterways flowing from nearby households, factories and farms. At the same time, they are negligent about protecting their agricultural basins through adjusting the parameters and preventing any change to land classification. The newspaper stressed that it is not possible to look into any food security strategy without treating the polluted waters of the Qaroun Lake. Over and above, the Litani irrigation projects are now threatened to discontinue due to environmental and funding difficulties. According to Al Akhbar, the Litani River Authority currently invests in three irrigation systems, namely (Qasimiyeh, Saida and Jezzine, in addition to the irrigation plan for South West Bekaa area), but the Lebanese state opts, as always, to prioritise import at the expense of sustainable development solutions. Like for example, the government is faltering in the implementation of the law stipulating the allocation of funds for land expropriation in the Litani basin from the source to the river mouth at a value of LBP 1100. The government also wavers in implementing a scheme to reduce Qaroun pollution based on a loan agreement of USD 55 million with the World Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Speaking to Al Akhbar, the director of the Litani River Authority, Sammy Alawiyeh, voiced his fear that the first phase of the project might not be completed by 2021. The said project is anticipated to irrigate around 13,000 hectares benefiting 102 villages and towns in the area. Alawiyeh stressed the role the Arab and Kuwaiti Funds in funding the second phase as well. “We cannot discuss food security in the gutter,” he concluded. For more, kindly review the following link: https://bit.ly/383AmmM). (Al Akhbar, June 23, 2020)
 

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