Under the patronage of the Director General of Cooperatives, ESFD Managing Director, Mr. Haitham Omar, and FAO’s Representative in Lebanon a.i. Mr. Etienne Careme, signed a coordination agreement on Thursday October 14, 2021 in the presence of a representative of the European Commission in Beirut at the premises of the Directorate General of Cooperatives.

The agreement falls under the framework of the project “Support to Women’s cooperatives and associations in the agri-food sector of Lebanon”, funded by the Government of Canada and implemented by FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture, and the EU funded “Local Development Programme along the Litani River Basin”. The former aims at supporting women's cooperatives and associations by promoting a social and cultural environment that enables women’s economic empowerment, while the latter seeks to support farmers and cooperatives to maintain their yields and to identify ways for scaling up and improving their production or reaching new markets.

This agreement joins efforts between both projects to complement the capacity-building programme on gender equality and business relevant topics – extensively delivered by the FAO project to more than 255 women groups – with the provision of equipment by the ESFD project to around 40 women groups in the Litani basin region.

The involvement of the General Directorate of Cooperatives has been instrumental in the implementation of both FAO and ESFD projects thanks to its efforts to improve the level of conformity of participating women’s cooperatives to the principles, laws and cooperative regulations in force.