Lebanon Businessnews News
 

$10 million to small farms
provided by the World Bank
Voucher system to be implemented by FAO
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The World Bank has approved a $10 million funding program to support small-scale farmers with agricultural inputs and animal feed.

The money will help them sustain their plant and animal production, and bolster their ability to contribute to food security. The program is expected to benefit around 26,700 small-scale farmers who have suffered from this year’s Covid-19-related planting and harvesting delays. It will also provide approximately one million animal vaccine doses to contribute to the annual livestock vaccination campaign. The funds were re-allocated from the existing Roads and Employment Project.

The small-scale farmers’ support program will provide eligible farmers with two types of vouchers for the procurement of essential inputs to enable continued agricultural production. The value of each voucher is set at $300. There are vouchers for crop production inputs (fertilizers, seeds, seedlings and other eligible agricultural inputs) and others for livestock production inputs, mostly feed. All transactions between suppliers and farmers will be processed in US dollars through these vouchers.

The program will be implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Lebanon (FAO) under the overall technical leadership and guidance of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and in compliance with World Bank’s fiduciary and safeguards policies. FAO will be responsible for identifying and selecting input suppliers in accordance with agreed upon eligibility criteria, verifying and validating that the input suppliers have received the funds and distributed the inputs to eligible beneficiaries upon submission of the vouchers, and submitting monitoring reports on a monthly basis.

“FAO is building on its similar agricultural inputs voucher schemes experience in Lebanon and the world with the aim to contribute to restoring the livelihoods and productive capacities of farmers and producers and increasing agricultural production and productivity in Lebanon”, said Maurice Saade, FAO Representative in Lebanon. “Those being the first two pillars of the National Agricultural Strategy recently adopted by the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture with technical support from FAO,” he said.

Under the program, FAO will also recruit an independent Third-Party Monitoring Agent (TPMA) to conduct the validation of a random sample of pre-approved beneficiaries based on field visits to ensure that they meet the eligibility criteria. The TPMA will also verify post-distribution monitoring. Another TPMA will be recruited by the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) to verify that animal vaccinations have been implemented as per the agreed procedures and in accordance with the annual vaccination program of the Directorate of Animal Resources.

Farmers will be invited to submit their applications to the program via a national campaign to be launched shortly by the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with FAO. The small-scale farmers’ support program will adopt a robust Grievance Redress Mechanism to ensure queries and complaints of all stakeholders including farming applicants, beneficiary farmers, input suppliers and agricultural communities are resolved in a prompt, efficient and transparent manner. The program was designed in close collaboration with the World Bank who will undertake close monitoring of implementation to ensure strict compliance with the principles of transparency, fairness, and efficiency.

The absence of credit facilities, the currency devaluation, and the capital control measures are hindering the payment of suppliers in the agriculture sector. This in turn has severely impacted agriculture production given the reliance on imports of agricultural inputs. “Preserving and strengthening agricultural domestic production and value chains are not only critical to mitigate the short-term risk related to food security, but also to boost the local economy and create employment opportunities in the agriculture sector,” said Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Mashreq Regional Director.
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Date Posted: May 21, 2021