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CHAMPION OF THE DAY
Olive farmers get mechanical harvesters
Olive farmers have been granted 318 mechanical harvesters by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as part of the Lebanon Industry Value Chain Development (LIVCD) project.
The mechanical harvesters, which run on batteries, save time and ultimately help olive oil producers decrease harvest costs by 50 percent. They protect olive trees from damage that occurs with traditional harvesting methods.
Hassan Salameh, Chairman of the Olive Cooperative in Nabatieh, said that the mechanical harvesters only break the dead branches. “By using these harvesters we guarantee that the production is stable throughout the years,” Salameh said.
The cooperatives are leasing the mechanical harvesters to olive farmers for $20 per day. Salameh said that each dunum (1,000 square meters) requires a cost of $360 to be harvested by workers, while by using the mechanical harvesters the cost would not exceed $150.
Salameh said: “USAID gifted us four mechanical harvesters and the cooperative purchased one.” The price of each harvester is $2,000, including the plastic boxes for packaging and the plastic netting.
In 2016, USAID received requests to expand its mechanical harvesting program to an additional 28 olive farming cooperatives, representing more than 1,500 olive farmers.
Since 2013, USAID has partnered with and funded 45 olive farm cooperatives, representing more than 2,700 olive farmers. The total investment represents more than $570,000, of which USAID invested approximately $470,000 and other partners have funded the balance.
LIVCD is a $42 million USAID-funded project. It aims to improve economic stability, generate business opportunities and create jobs for the rural population, in particular for women and youth.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
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Mar 10, 2016
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