Agriculture as a key to the resilience of Lebanon rural areas to the effect of the Syrian Crisis

Kanj Hamadé - 2016

 

Since the onset of the Syrian Crisis in 2011, Lebanon has faced a series of socio-economic shocks that have threatened an already existing situation of economic vulnerability and fragile political stability. The living conditions of both urban and rural communities have been highly impacted by the influx of more than a million Syrian refugees. In addition to the pressure it has created on natural resources and public service infrastructure, the continued presence of this large number of refugees has led to an increased competition over job opportunities in the Lebanese labor market. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the estimated increase in the labor force is 14 percent1. The World Bank’s projections are expecting an increase of 10 percent points in unemployment

The Lebanese rural areas bordering Syria, i.e. the Beqaa Valley and Akkar, have been the most impacted by the Syrian Crisis. These areas still rely heavily on agricultural production, and have had to face two main challenges:  the increased cost of agricultural inputs when smuggling of cheaper inputs from Syria had stopped; the difficulty in reaching traditional export markets in the Gulf Council Countries, especially following the closure of the land road through Syria after the Syrian Opposition armed forces took control of the Naseeb crossing at the Syrian-Jordanian borders in the spring of 2015. Furthermore, Lebanese agriculture had to face an exceptional drought in 2014, which together with pressure on water resources from refugees, led to a significant decrease in yields that year.

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