The agri-food revolution
Agriculture in Lebanon needs a revolution, and we should all be part of it. The sector is facing major challenges: land is less farmed, younger generations are increasingly uninterested in farming, and national support for the sector is limited mainly to international donors’ programs, with little coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture to develop a national strategy. We’ve all heard about the apple crisis, precipitated by the 2015 closure of the land trade route via Syria for product exports to the Gulf. In addition, issues related to poor traceability practices, irrigation challenges—given the country’s contaminated waterways—and inefficient practices in most small and medium farms are ravaging our environment.
It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a country to revive a sector. Agriculture is a national matter, and Lebanon can play a role in the food security of the region, given the microclimates it has, as well as its human capital and entrepreneurship mindset. As we see around the globe, agriculture is no longer half science-half art; it is half science and half engineering. Precision agriculture is what will take the sector to new heights.
Lebanon has the human capital to combine science with engineering to save and grow the agriculture sector. What we currently need, as an investment in research and development, is a group of engineers and computer scientists, agricultural engineers, scientists, and business professionals working together under a national strategy to revive the country’s faltering farming industry.
[Photo by Omar Chatriwala | Flickr]