On November 18, 2016, Chargé d’Affaires Danny Hall celebrated the completion of the first Table Olive Processing Facility in Jezzine District (located in Roum village). The new facility was funded by USAID as part of the Building Alliance for Local Advancement, Development, and Investment (BALADI) program in partnership with the Union of Jezzine Municipalities. This assistance will increase fresh olive sales for 270 farmers in 28 villages of the Union and create 10 new jobs.
In addition to Chargé Hall, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director, Dr. Anne Patterson; Rene Mouawad Foundation Executive Director, Michel Moawad; the Head of the Union of Jezzine Municipalities, Khalil Harfouche; Mayor of Roum municipality, Dany Haddad; Members of the Council of the Union of Municipalities of Jezzine; representatives of local farmer cooperatives; and other community members also attended the event.
In his remarks, Chargé Hall emphasized the United States’ support to local communities to improve public services and stimulate local economic growth. “The U.S. Government has partnered over many years with local communities and municipalities across Lebanon to carry out projects in education, water, agriculture, microfinance, and local governance. We believe that the most effective way to support local communities is to help them champion their own development.”
USAID, through the BALADI project, provided $250,000 to assist the Municipality in constructing and equipping the facility which will store, sort, grade, process, and package table olives. The facility will produce various types of processed table olive products including pickled green olives and black olives, tapenades, and pickled sliced olives which are in high demand in the local market. The municipal union, including 28 municipalities, contributed approximately $268,000 to finance land, engineering designs, legal permits, construction services, and electric and water connections. The Union will also oversee the long-term operation and sustainability of the activity in partnership with two local olive producing cooperatives and the private sector.
Over the past 10 years, the U.S. Government has invested more than $70 million to support municipalities throughout Lebanon. The USAID-funded BALADI project will continue through 2017, supporting 59 municipal-led development activities in 157 municipalities and improving the livelihoods of more than 100,000 people throughout Lebanon. USAID BALADI supports municipalities to work inclusively with citizens to accomplish priority community development activities. More information on USAID BALADI can be found on http://baladi-lebanon.org/en.