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Recap on Upper Metn Coops tour, 18th of July 2020

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I was present in the Upper Metn Coops Tour on behalf of Atayeb Al Jabal, and would like to share with you this recap on our day.

Atayeb Al Jabal was present in the tour to Upper Metn Coops that took place on Saturday the 18th of July 2020.

The participants were Alaa Zahreddine and Rami El Khatib from Rotaract Hammana Upper Metn, Fidele El Ashkar and Rami Bou Hassan from FoodSight, Akram Hariz from Rotaract Hammana Upper Metn and Rural Entrepreneurs, and Rayan Saab from Atayeb Al Jabal.

We started our tour upon arrival at Aabadiyeh Coop with a meeting with Mr. Najib Hamd, President of Aabadiyeh Coop, which was (with another one in Egypt) one of the first officially registered Coops in the Arab World. Mr. Hamd talked about the history of their Coop, and highlighted the issue that the Upper Metn region has been for long, excluded from external funding opportunities because it is considered as a region that has sufficient food production and supply, which doesn’t reflect the reality according to Mr. Hamd.

Our next stop was at Qobeih Coop where we discussed with the ladies the importance of expanding Mouneh sales to online and export markets, the importance of implementing and maintaining high standards in food safety measures, and designing professional labeling and branding. The ladies at Qobeih Coop talked about the challenges they are facing as rural food and mouneh producers, starting from the high prices of equipment and raw materials, the high competency that the processed and machine-made products have due to lower production costs, and thus the price gap between the machine-made and home-made products, and not ending with the low electricity daily coverage form the mass networks and local power generators as well, which alters storage capabilities and work hours.

Our third destination was Qorneyil Coop and the honey production inventory (الجمعيّة التعاونيّة لمربّيي النحل في المتن الأعلى). The people at the Coop talked about the history of their Coop and the initiatives they are currently working on, they also shared their thoughts on the challenges that the rural food and mouneh producers are facing (lack of proper training, lack of commitment, lack of unified criteria for quality, pricing and branding). After the discussion we went through a tour covering the food and mouneh production equipment that the Coop have, and visited the honey production inventory, which is one of the most advanced in Lebanon.

The participants in the tour agreed on the importance of creating and maintaining a local network for farmers and food producers to create a sustained cycle of food and mouneh production. Furthermore, the participants expressed their interest and willingness to collaborate with all stakeholders and partners to support rural farmers and food producers in Upper Metn.

Rayan Saab,Operations Coordinator at Atayeb Al Jabal.

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