MACFRUT Italy Booths

From Lebanon To the Globe: Eight Lebanese Agri-businesses In Italy

MACFRUT Italy Booths

 

Robinson AgriDebbane Freres, Lama FoodsNatagri, Karma Lebanon, Zakka Technologies, Biomass, and Rawda farms are the eight Lebanese agribusinesses and members of the QOOT Cluster who represented the Lebanese agricultural scene in the yearly MACFRUT Fair in Rimini, Italy, held from September 7-9, 2021.  

Participating in MACFRUT 

QOOT Cluster collaborated with the Italian Trade Agency (ITA), to support members of the QOOT Cluster to participate in the MACFRUT Fair, a yearly event that focuses on input supplies, fresh produce, bio-solutions, packaging, and machinery. The fair was an opportunity for the members to benefit from acquiring new knowledge of the market and trends, meeting new partners, and gaining visibility on an international scale. 

Participants in this exhibition benefitted from the opportunity to see the latest technologies in the agri-food sector, and to foster new business collaborations and linkages such as meeting with agricultural importers and exporters in the European market.  

Hammam Samad from Lama Foods, a Lebanese company that exports a wide range of high-quality Lebanese fruits, vegetables, dried fruits and authentic food products to all countries in the GCC region, stated that the “QOOT Cluster is playing a crucial role in enhancing and merging collaborative hands and powers to spread Lebanon’s voice farther. Lebanon, through the QOOT Cluster, will surely bounce back very soon.” He added: “I benefited from two main aspects: the machinery that Italian companies are producing to automate and digitalize the production process, as well as the packaging material and prototypes available, which will allow us to enhance the shelf-life and the quality of the product.” 

In his turn, Khaled Sinno, CEO and founder of Karma, wholesalers & exporters of fresh fruits & vegetables explained that “It was very useful to be updated on innovative technologies related to packaging, packaging material, packaging equipment, and the latest improvements in terms of agricultural best practices.” 

“We joined QOOT Cluster a year ago and since then, the cluster was able to provide us with networking, events, exposure, visibility, access to information, access to technology, access to knowhow,” explained Georges Gharios, founder of Rawda Farms, a family-owned citrus grove founded in 1971 and located in Akkar-North Lebanon. 

The aim of QOOT Cluster’s delegation is to foster the Lebanese – Italian relationship and navigate potential collaboration while empowering the agri-food sector in Lebanon. 

Lebanese Delegation 

QOOT Cluster members were accompanied by the regional representative of the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) in Beirut, Mr. Claudio Pasqualucci, and the Ambassador of Lebanon to Italy, Her Excellency Ms. Mira Daher, who participated with the Lebanese delegation in meetings with the Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development (IADC), Mr. Mario Beccia, and Mr. Aldo Cera.  

During these meetings, the Lebanese agribusinesses had the chance to explain the sector’s challenges and explore potential solutions. Means to support the agricultural and agri-food sector in Lebanon were also discussed such as providing valuable linkages with Italian distributors and retailers, to introduce the Lebanese produce to the Italian market.  

About the MACFRUT event 

MACFRUT is an international trade fair for the fruit and vegetable industry, focusing on Fresh Produce, Field & Post Harvest. The international Fair is a B2B exhibition for the professional sector and business leaders from across 90 countries. The fair brings together major industry players, the latest innovation, market trends, and offers a unique business platform to allow participants to expand their network of business contacts and enter new markets. 

 


Lebanon sets its pavilion at the Specialty and Fine Food Fair in London

Specialty and Fine Food Fair
Lebanon’s economic attaché in the UK, Ralph Nehmé, during preparations for the “Specialty and Fine Food Fair” over the past weekend in London. Photo DR

The economic, financial and social crisis, which passed the two-year mark this year, continues to sink Lebanon into a bottomless abyss. Forced to struggle to survive, some companies can count on initiatives that aim to publicize and export Lebanese products abroad to capture hard currency that is sorely lacking in the country, whose local currency has been stinging since the end of summer 2019.

It is within this framework, that 27 Lebanese companies participated for the first time in the “Specialty and Fine Food Fair”, a trade fair organized at the Olympia in London and devoted to high-quality food products on the 6th and the 7th of September, 2021. They exhibited under the “Taste of Lebanon” pavilion divided into two stands (one for food, the other for drinks), and one of the largest at the fair, according to the event's statement.

Although this is not the first time that Lebanese companies made their mark in this Salon which already has 22 editions, " it is the first time that the Lebanese have joined forces to be represented in a single pavilion ”, rejoices Christian Kamel. As director of the Business Innovation and Enhance Exports for Lebanon project, an initiative of the Middle East Partnership Initiative, MEPI, funded by the United States of America Government ) and the NGO Fair Trade Lebanon (FTL), whose goal is to help Lebanese SMEs and cooperatives be more competitive on the international scene, Christian Kamel is particularly involved in the success of the event.

Of the 27 companies that came to represent Lebanon, 12 are vineyards and spirits producers: Château Ksara, Château St Thomas, Côteaux Les Cèdres, Château Heritage, Les Trois Maladroits, Karam Wines, Château Trois Collines, Adyar, Muse du Liban, Château Oumsiyat, The Three Brothers Gin and Elmir ;

14 specialize in food: The Good Thymes, Darmess, al-Kazzi, Le Joyau d'Olive, Mechaalany, Bustan el-Zeitoun, Terroirs du Liban, Biomass-Organic Products, al-Rabih, House of Zejd, mymoune, Said Saifan and 1939 Zeit Boulos; and a roaster, Café Super Brasil.

The three organizations mentioned above (Bieel, FTL and MEPI) have been supported by a plethora of Lebanese and foreign actors, including the Lebanese Embassy in the United Kingdom, the Canadian government, the Association of Industrialists of Lebanon (AIL), the Authority for the Development of Investments in Lebanon (IDAL), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (Unido), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the NGO QOOT Cluster (an agricultural innovation cluster) and René Moawad Foundation.

The support of these actors made it possible for the Lebanese companies to finance their trip to the exhibition where the rental of a booth costs between “5,000 and 10,000 dollars”, not to mention other fees. 80% of the bill was paid by the organizers, and the remaining 20% ​​covered by the invited companies.

“Money and Covid are severe limitations, but Lebanon had to be present and not miss this opportunity!”, summarizes the director of Bieel. This is the reason why Lebanese producers have come together under a single 60m² pavilion. In addition, "food & beverage professionals present in Great Britain took care of the presentation and the animation", indicates Christian Kamel, who specifies that many virtual meetings on Zoom took place between these specialists and Lebanese companies to be able to convey product characteristics and key messages. The national carrier, Middle East Airlines (MEA), meanwhile carried nearly a ton of cargo free of charge to London, saving between "$ 5,000 and $ 10,000".

Finally, it is no coincidence that the organizers chose the London Trade Show over another exhibition (the Gulfood in Dubai which takes place in February 2022 or the Anuga in Cologne which is scheduled for next month). According to Christian Kamel, Brexit has pushed the United Kingdom to seek new trading partners, prompting the British authorities to sign a new trade agreement with Lebanon in 2019. He added that the Economic Attaché at the Lebanese Embassy in the United Kingdom, Ralph Nehmé, is actively working to raise the quotas of Lebanese exports to this country. The second stated goal is “to get out of the ethnic market (specializing in Middle Eastern gastronomy) in order to sell the goods of the Cedar country in supermarkets, among other items.” The increase in exports will make it possible to "move from a rent economy to a productive economy", hopes Christian Kamel, who relies above all on wine, olive oil and Lebanese specialized products, "which have an economic and social impact, due to strong jobs creations”. In 2019, exports to the UK of plant-based or animal-based products, as well as oils, ready-to-eat products, beverages and tobacco, reached nearly $ 18.7 million, according to figures from Lebanese customs, almost half of the total exports of nearly $ 40.6 million two years ago.

 

Sourced and adapted from: https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1273839/le-liban-plante-son-pavillon-a-la-speciality-and-fine-food-fair-de-londres.html


MacFrut Event

Lebanon participated in the MacFrut Exhibition in Rimini

Macfrut International Fair, in its 38th edition, was inaugurated during the Rimini International Fair for Fruits and Vegetables. The exhibition witnessed the participation of a special pavilion for Lebanon composed of some of the QOOT Cluster members. This pavilion included the most important Lebanese institutions working in agriculture, irrigation and agricultural technology development.

The Lebanese delegation was accompanied by the regional representative of the Italian Trade Agency ITA in Beirut Claudio Pasqualucci, and the Ambassador of Lebanon to Italy Mira Daher, who participated with the Lebanese delegation in meetings with Italian private and official institutions.

The MacFrut Fair is an important heritage in Italy for the Italian fruit and vegetable sector, and is organized in partnership with the Brio Spa group and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.

Claudio Pasqualucci, Regional Representative of the Foreign Trade Agency based in the Italian Embassy in Beirut told the National News Agency, "We were very pleased to welcome QOOT Cluster members, in collaboration with Cesena Fiere, and to set up a special pavilion for Lebanon at the Macfrut Fair 2021, a distinguished exhibition for professionals working in the fruit and vegetable sector at the national and international level. It is a unique opportunity for the leading Lebanese companies to cooperate with official and private Italian institutions to help Lebanon develop its capabilities and encourage exports at an international level."

He added: "The participation of nine leading Lebanese companies in the agricultural development sector in Lebanon is symbolic, especially that the Lebanese participants presented solutions to the existing problems in Lebanon, encouraging the Italians to cooperate with the Land of Cedars."

The Italian Agency for Foreign Trade in Beirut noted in a statement "these leading Lebanese companies participated in one of the most important pavilions of international trade fairs in the agro-industrial sector, as a result of joint efforts and collaboration between several local partners aiming to support the growth of agriculture in Lebanon."

 

Adapted from: http://nna-leb.gov.lb/ar/show-news/563403/


the food system challenge Facebook

The Food System Challenge: Increasing Resilience Of The Lebanese Food System

the food system challenge Facebook

 

QOOT Cluster is a proud partner in The Food System Challenge, a program implemented by the World Food Programme (WFP) and Berytech through the support of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The project aims at improving food security and increase resilience in the food system in Lebanon through business support, technical assistance, in-kind grants, and support packages to SMEs to enable their ideas and roll-out or scale their impactful food system solution.

About the Project

The project covers 3 cycles where 10 SMEs will be selected in each to undergo a transformational journey, thus targeting a total of 30 Lebanese SMEs working in the food system.

Berytech will be providing selected SMEs with a transformational journey package including tailored business development services and technical support. The package will also contain in-kind support and milestone based financial prizes from WFP.

Applicants need to submit an online concept note to present their solution to tackle the major challenges related to access to energy, access to raw material, import substitution, pricing, and skill and employee retention and development. The top 20 applicants selected through a competitive shortlisting process will move to the second phase and present their full proposals. A selection committee will evaluate the proposals and select 10 winning solutions. The two phases will be repeated for each of the three cycles.

Read more about The Food System Challenge here.

 

Source: https://berytech.org/the-food-system-challenge-increasing-resilience-of-the-lebanese-food-system/


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Compost Baladi SAL- a community-based, user-dirver bio waste disposal and composting solution

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The Water and Energy for Food Grand Challenge (WE4F) Middle East and North Africa Regional Innovation Hub (MENA RIH), is an international partnership among the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Union, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Netherlands, and Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. WE4F supports the most promising and innovative companies and organizations working to produce more food with less water and more efficient energy resources. Meet Compost Baladi SAL, one of the selected Lebanese innovators and QOOT Cluster member.

CHALLENGE

In 2015, Lebanon endured the consequences of decades of waste mismanagement. Local municipalities and retailers, such as Antoura and Carrefour, have a direct need for proper waste management, as they each generate around 3,000 tons of biowaste per day. In absence of financial capacity, technical know-how and commitment from the central government, they’re bound to be exposed to and partly responsible for, the inevitable waste crises.

SOLUTION

With the support of local Lebanese investors, Compost Baladi (CB) was co-founded to respond to the critical need and demand for local bio waste solutions and services. To solve consumers’ pains of limited space in urban settings, odor risks, pest attraction, and labor intensity, CB locally developed the “Earth Cube.” A user-friendly bio waste disposal enclosed system made of reused intermediate bulk containers, and which later translated into a bigger version, the Container Composter. CB’s customers include municipalities, retailers, agro-industrialists, and farmers.

The Container Composter is a decentralized bio waste solution holding a temporary structure, which is a standardized and modular system for different municipal settings. It’s low maintenance, holds an adaptive technology, and ensures continuous monitoring by off-site professionals via remote sensing. The Container Composter allows the operator to manage bio waste in a fully enclosed, airtight, and controlled environment; preventing the generation of foul odors and leachate seepage, all while ensuring optimal composting conditions. The Container Composter can be manufactured from a 20- or 40-foot standard size shipping container and holds a small footprint. Typically, the daily feedstock input capacity is 0.75 and 1.5 tons respectively. The feedstock consists of (1) nitrogen material which is bio waste like food waste, municipal bio waste, animal manure, landscape waste, etc. and (2) a bulking agent or carbon material like dead leaves, woodchips, sawdust, etc.

CB’s product affordability and ability to substitute imported raw inputs, significantly impacts poor farmers by providing equal access to the opportunities the compost offers. Similarly, the collection service for bio waste generated doesn’t charge any fees to its generators and thus ensures equal access to all community members, including the most vulnerable. In each facility, in partnership with the local municipality, around 10% of the produced compost is given back to the community’s most vulnerable populations at a heavily discounted rate.


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Go Baladi- Providing Nutrition And Food Through Goat Dairy

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The Water and Energy for Food Grand Challenge (WE4F) Middle East and North Africa Regional Innovation Hub (MENA RIH), is an international partnership among the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Union, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Netherlands, and Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. WE4F supports the most promising and innovative companies and organizations working to produce more food with less water and more efficient energy resources. Meet Hajjar Foods SAL (Go Baladi), one of the selected Lebanese innovators and QOOT Cluster member.

CHALLENGE

Goat dairy production has a long history in the Middle East and North Africa.. Until recently cow milk has dominated the dairy market in Lebanon, but now goat dairy has grown steadily over the past five years.

As the dairy sector has changed, so has the financial situation in Lebanon. Since October 2019, the national currency in Lebanon has lost 80% of its value, and by July 2020, the average price of food products increased by 141% when compared to July 2019.

With over 90% of the feed for cows being imported, many farmers started to leave the sector because they could not cope with the prices and sold the cows for meat. However, this behavior is less seen among goat shepherds who rely mainly on pasture grazing in the Lebanese mountains to feed their herds.

SOLUTION

Hajjar Foods SAL (Go Baladi)’s innovation focuses on offering goat dairy as an alternative to cow dairy and on maintaining and growing the productive capacity of milking goat farms. Go Baladi connects the supply chain by selling goat milk from shepherds and family farms located in the Lebanese mountains to consumers. By working with these goat dairy suppliers, Go Baladi improves their livelihoods, increases their resilience, and helps build a sustainable ecosystem.


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Robinson Agri- Countering resource mismanagement with holistic irrigation and farming solutions

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The Water and Energy for Food Grand Challenge (WE4F) Middle East and North Africa Regional Innovation Hub (MENA RIH), is an international partnership among the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Union, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Netherlands, and Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. WE4F supports the most promising and innovative companies and organizations working to produce more food with less water and more efficient energy resources. Meet Robinson Agri, one of the selected Lebanese innovators and QOOT Cluster member.

CHALLENGE

In Lebanon, onion crops are irrigated using sprinklers and gravity surface irrigation systems, and crops are grown using pollinated seeds, which consume a high quantity of water and energy, in addition to a lower crop yield. Due to severe mismanagement and misuse of natural resources, Lebanon is highly water stressed. The country grapples with environmental pollution and a growing waste crisis. On the economic side, a lack of financial support and an unfavorable business environment make it challenging for farmers to produce competitively.

SOLUTION

Robinson Agri is providing a complete solution : including a complete irrigation system + hybrid seeds + technical support and financial support in order to improve quality and yield, rationing use of agriculture inputs and natural resources (water) thus reducing the costs and eventually increasing the income of their clients. Only a low percentage (<9%) of women are involved In agriculture activities. Women are mainly there to support their husbands or as workers in the field.


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Biomass SAL- Increasing organic food production

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The Water and Energy for Food Grand Challenge (WE4F) Middle East and North Africa Regional Innovation Hub (MENA RIH), is an international partnership among the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the European Union, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of the Netherlands, and Sweden through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. WE4F supports the most promising and innovative companies and organizations working to produce more food with less water and more efficient energy resources. Meet Biomass SAL, one of the selected innovators.

CHALLENGE

Lebanon benefits from an ideal climate and terrain for the agricultural production of  many crops and products. The opportunity to increase farming capacity and to serve the food industry and the consumers is substantial. The opportunity is accelerated by a critical need to increase local food production and to do it, in more sustainable and responsible ways.

SOLUTION

Biomass increases the production capacity of organic certified food products in Lebanon, by using farming techniques and practices that reduce and optimize agricultural input use and resource use. Examples of targeted resources include water (drip irrigation, permaculture, etc.) and energy (by using renewable energy).

The company aims to drive gender equality in the workforce and to offer equal development opportunities and positive impacts to women across the country.

 

Learn more about Biomass: http://www.biomasslb.com 

Source: Biomass SAL - Water and Energy for Food Grand Challenge (we4f.org)


Connecting Clusters And Innovators Of The Mediterranean during the Techdays Meet Up.

QOOT Cluster joined the Techdays Meet Up virtual event, organized by Berytech with the partnership of France Clusters, Anima Investment Network, and QOOT Cluster under THE NEXT SOCIETY, an EU-funded project that supports innovators in the Med.   

The event gathered clusters, cluster members, researchers, SMEs, industry players, academia, policymakers, tech transfer offices, SMEs, startups, innovation partners, and entrepreneurs to share best practices, learn about the latest industry trends and explore business opportunities and partnerships to drive the Med forward.  

The two-day event gathered more than 240 attendees from 22 countries, hosted 2 panels, 11 round tables with a total of 23 speakers from 9 countries. During the event, 150 meetings were initiated with an interest in networking, trading, and investment.   

Forging Strategic Partnerships 

The event was strategically designed to target cluster managers and board members, policymakers, industry players, academia, and Technology Transfer Officers during the first day on the 29th of June allowing them to exchange expertise and visions, develop cross-institution partnerships, explore market expansion opportunities and identify funding strategies. 

The second day targeted cluster members, startups, SMEs, entrepreneurs, innovators & industry leaders to discover the importance of clusters, explore the latest innovations in the region, forge partnerships with others, and get the chance to access new markets and expand. 

In her opening note, Ingrid Schwaiger, Deputy Head of Unit and Head of the economic section of the European Commission in DG NEAR emphasized on the role of clusters in leading towards innovation: “The large participation in the event demonstrates the interest in clusters and innovation. Cluster cooperation and private initiatives are among the key priorities of the EU Commission when supporting the private sector in the southern neighborhood. COVID-19 has shown us that supporting clusters contributes to resilience, improves competitiveness, helps companies in key sectors, and is a framework to integrate companies in regional value chains. Clusters are best placed to generate cooperation in ecosystems and to lead to innovation by disseminating it among all the members, be it individual companies, or research centers as part of the ecosystem.”  

Building The Mediterranean Economy 

Panel discussions focused on the role of cluster organizations in building the Mediterranean economy and the role of cluster members and how to set strategies to manage their engagement. Roundtables discussed topics including collaborations, improving performance, partnerships with different stakeholders, choosing new markets, navigating the ecosystem, and facilitating opportunities. Both event days ended with intent-based networking and matchmaking sessions.  

In his note, Emmanuel Notary, General Delegate of the Anima Investment Network and the lead partner of THE NEXT SOCIETY project focused on the importance of clusters for the future of the Mediterranean: “It’s important to support clusters because we think that they are evident poles to sustain SMEs. They act as openers to new markets; they also act as territorial actors that can connect companies and industries to the national framework and the national policy. After the COVID-19 sanitary crisis, there will be a movement for relocation, migration of companies from Asia to closer to markets. For that to happen we need to develop the work technology for capacity, to leverage the non-tariff barriers especially those related to exports, and marginally to make the administration simpler for companies especially for export, and finally to have a quick integration to the global value chain. These challenges impose innovation at each level including new policies, flexible and adaptive new visions, new instruments, and breaking the silos that isolate different actors from research to companies, to the public and private sector. Clusters are the definition of where this is possible, the place where this collaboration between the stakeholders should happen and is happening.”

Creating Endless Opportunities 

The Techdays Meet up is part of a series of events designed by THE NEXT SOCIETY to bring about collaborations among MENA innovators and with their EU peers, with clusters playing a key role in the value chain. Clusters, SMEs, startups, researchers, and industry experts from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, and Europe took part in the first event of the series to discuss common visions and explore potential partnerships. They will catch up in the 2nd event of the series during August 2021 to further build on their discussions and match up during the last event of the series happening in September 2021. 

“We see today a very promising potential for Mediterranean collaboration among stakeholders creating endless opportunities to expand and bridge markets. At Berytech, we’ve been working on the QOOT cluster, the first agri-food innovation cluster in Lebanon, which is a living example of the contribution of clusters in the growth of a value chain,” explained Ramy Boujawdeh, Deputy GM of Berytech. “Projects such as The Next Society are a great example for building regional networks of innovators and creating impact for the region, through bringing clusters together for peer-to-peer learning and exchange and opening new channels of inter-clustering collaboration at the national, regional, and international level, working on the enabling environment needed to nurturing Innovation and competitiveness.” 

#TechDays are a series of events designed by THE NEXT SOCIETY to bring about collaborations among MENA innovators and with their EU peers, with clusters playing a key role in the value chain. Clusters, SMEs, startups, researchers and industry experts from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia and Europe are invited to a series of 3 events to discuss common visions and explore potential partnerships.  

Source: https://berytech.org/techdays-meet-up-connecting-clusters-and-innovators-of-the-mediterranean/ 


QOOT Cluster partners with BIEEL

In its mission to facilitate partnership between agri-food businesses and different organizations, QOOT Cluster partnered with BIEEL, a project led by Fair Trade Lebanon – Commerce equitable Liban and initiated by the United States Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), to strengthen synergies between both initiatives, aiming to deliver more efficient services to the agri-food sector.

Coordination between projects can create synergies for members, and a greater overall impact can be achieved for all involved, creating hope to build back the economy and support Lebanese businesses to reach new markets around the globe.

This partnership will create synergy and collaboration between both parties, through different activities such as widening the agri-food sector network to establish a common vision and create synergies for all efforts to facilitate and increase export capacity, as well as support access to R&D, access to international connections, access to expertise, access to events and activities among both organizations.

About BIEEL

Funded by The Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and led by Fair Trade Lebanon, the project BIEEL aims at creating an environment which enables business development and empowers 100 Lebanese SME’s and cooperatives by increasing their competitiveness internationally. It will focus on three main pillars: access to market, access to standards, and access to finance. BIEEL will also concentrate on seven agro-food clusters: olives and olive oil, grapes and vines, Za’atar and spices, tahini and byproducts, potato chips, pastries and sweets, fruits and nuts. Read more https://www.fairtradelebanon.org/en/expertise/project-implementation