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Lebanon has faced since 2006 a significant decline in honey production that reached the lowest rate in 2010, where production did not exceed 10% of the usual production according to Al-Akhbar daily (“Lebanon Without Honey”: www.al-akhbar.com/ar/node/205464, 2010).

This article reported that, “Honey has reached this year the lowest level of production since many years. The reasons behind this include climate changes, the decrease in rainfall, deadly diseases that affect the bees (such as Varroa’s insect and foulbrood disease that can kill bees), agricultural pesticides that kill large numbers of bees as well as the urban sprawl and its negative impact on this sector. Especially with the spread of cell phones that are thought to interfere with the vibrations produced by bees in determining their course. The result is ‘A Lebanon Without Honey’ for this year where each active hive produced 10-30% of its usual yield.”

In spite of this, and with funding from USAID’s Leahy War Victims Fund to a project titled: “Expanding Economic Opportunities For Victims of War In the District of Jizzine – South Lebanon”, implemented by the World Rehabilitation Fund (WRF), 83 beekeepers from Jizzine District produced a total of eight tons of honey during the 2010 summer season. These beekeepers are members of the Development Cooperative in Jizzine (The COOP) that was established in 2002, and has been growing and developing with support from USAID and WRF.

Some COOP members were so successful that they produced more than 200 kg of honey each during this season. We can name a few: Jeanne-Darc Rouhana (812 kg), Maroun Nammour (750 kg), George Aouad (347 kg), Tanios Nasr (250 kg), Jean Saliba (250 kg) and others. Each of these project beneficiaries / COOP members were provided with an in-kind grant of 15 beehives complete with bees and basic beekeeping tools in addition to essential technical training and follow-up.

Each grant was estimated around $3,150. Many of these members reported that without this grant and technical support and training from WRF and the COOP, they and their families would have moved to Beirut or abroad looking for a better living. Many add that this grant has been providing them with an income that is helping them in their daily living, educating their children, and surviving the deteriorating economic situation.

Copyright 2014, World Rehabilitaion Fund