Caught between warring militias and Israeli reprisal, Lebanon’s farmers have a hardscrabble life that is only exacerbated by the threat of unexploded munitions littering the fields, forests and mountain slopes.
Radio Netherlands reports that support for rural communities is “scant,” and blamed a “clannish and corrupt” government of elites for their plight.
Enter Rami Zurayk, a professor at the American University in Beirut, whose small aid group Land and People provides technical assistance, marketing support and more to rural communities in need.
This includes programs to shift from chemical fertilizers to banana-leaf compost, and financial aid to purchase a mechanical shredder vital for the composting process.
Land and People also helped a women’s baking cooperative market its goods, and supports soapmaking operations using wild berries in the bombed-out village of Ayta al Shaab.
Zurayk says the point is to “change the way trade operates in the world” — and to develop trade not just between nations, but also between people.
“Lebanon – small steps to change the world”
Radio Netherlands, March 19, 2008