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The role of the American University in Beirut and the Ministry of Agriculture in developing organic agriculture


As Safir newspaper published a coverage of the seminar organised by the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences at the American University of Beirut (Environment and Sustainable Development Unit) under the auspices of the Danish ambassador to Lebanon Jan Top Christensen.  The seminar was entitled: “Organic Agriculture: The Danish Perspective and a Lebanese Update”.  Participants discussed the role of Lebanese institutions in strengthening the organic agricultural sector of Lebanon, the challenges it faces and the ways to increase effectiveness of inputs.  Participants also indicated their interest in taking part in a second seminar to pursue these discussions.
The seminar reviewed the history of organic agriculture in Lebanon, the role that the American University of Beirut has played in taking the initiative in encouraging this through creating the “healthy basket” project which thought to improve the livelihoods of farmers in rural areas, as well as various other initiatives the latest of which was the creation of the Environment and Sustainable Development Unit in 2001 which aims at achieving  food security, empowering local communities and strengthening sustainable agriculture.
The article also noted that the Ministry of Agriculture recently enacted a number of decrees to regulate organic agriculture and has set up a national technical committee of agronomists whose mandate is to develop laws, follow up the registration of organic farming bodies, and provide technical support and extension services to producers and suppliers
The technical committee is expected to integrate some of the recommendations of this seminar into the report which it will soon submit to the Council of Minister in order to promote organic agriculture in Lebanon.
Source: Al-Safir 8 August 2013

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