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Food security starting in steadfasting South Lebanon


Al Akhbar daily highlighted individual initiatives launched by Southern communities to return to the roots and achieve food self-sufficiency. It brought to mind the food security strategy kicked off 9 years back by the Hizbullah-backed Unions of the Municipalities of Jabal Amel and Bint Jbeil. The newspaper mentioned a number of undertakings to this effect, most notably: ‘I am part of the resistance, I am a farmer’. The latter, to note, was started by Hussein Abbas, from the Bint Jbeil town of Hanin. It inspires land proprietors to plant their stretches of land with staple food crops and breed livestock and poultry to meet consumption needs. This initiative which some believed unfeasible, was developed by the local municipalities into a project, Al Akhbar said, mentioning another initiative, ‘Khairatna bi Ardna’ (The resources of our land). The latter is run by the mayor of Ainata, Riad Fadlallah, to encourage locals to cultivate their land, (up to 150 dunums), with chickpeas, lentils, corn and fava beans under the supervision of the ministry of agriculture. In this regard, the municipal member in the first district controlled by Hizbullah, Ali Zein, spoke to Al Akhbar about several similar initiatives launched in the past years within the municipalities of Jabal Amel and Bint Jbeil. The aim, he said, was to create jobs in the remote areas, including the distribution of some 3,000 chickens to those willing to raise poultry on small scale; support of the beekeeper community; the building of a dairy factory; the distribution of small fruit, olive, fig, thyme and carob trees and seedlings. On the other hand, Kamal Fouani from Houla, questioned the efficacy of such initiatives, outlining some difficulties farmers could face, particularly the high cost of labor, the summer water shortage and the soaring prices of imported seeds and fertilizers. In a related vein, Al Akhbar cited southerners as saying that the current food scarcity is in fact the direct upshot of the policy of siege and starvation against the resistance community. (Al Akhbar, November 25, 2019)

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