U.S. Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Ambassador Richard H. Jones participated in Fair Trade Lebanon’s fifth consecutive celebration of World Fair Trade Day this afternoon at St. Georges’ Covenant in Roumiyeh-Qleiyat. The event, held under the patronage of H.E. Minister of Tourism Michel Pharaon, celebrated Lebanon’s rural delights and traditions with activities such as cheese making, cow milking, hiking, games for children, and a buffet lunch featuring products from small producers in rural Lebanese villages. Twenty-two cooperatives benefitting from the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) supported “SOFAIR” (Sustainable Opportunities for Fair Trade Activities in Rural Areas) project also joined the event and catered to more than 1,200 guests.
Through a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of State Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), Fair Trade Lebanon, in cooperation with Rural Delights (Atayeb Al Rif) supports a network of rural women’s cooperatives throughout Lebanon. The SOFAIR project promotes Fair Trade certified products in Lebanon for domestic and export markets. In his remarks, CDA Jones noted that “fair trade is a symbol that tells buyers this product supports decent wages, sustainable practices, and is a catalyst that builds communities not harms them.” To date, cooperatives in association with Fair Trade Lebanon and Rural Delights have exported products to the Gulf, Europe, and North America.
More information about the MEPI’s programs and opportunities can be found at: https://lb.usembassy.gov/education-culture/mepi/