Tarik Akhdar (Green Road) – Fair trade and Agroecology

A strong alliance for economic diversification and increased resilience of small producers


Lead organization

Fair Trade Lebanon is a local NGO created in 2006. The NGO started with women cooperatives in charge of food processing scattered all over Lebanon, based on the observation that Lebanese women of rural communities have strong but underemployed skills and potential.

Founders decided to use fair trade as a means to promote local expertise in food processing and to generate revenues for disadvantaged rural communities by creating marketing opportunities (through certification) for small producers and women processing cooperatives. Step by step, they contacted rural farmers and raw material producers to reach out to the producer side and increase the transparency of the entire food supply chain.

Fair Trade Lebanon is collaborating with 50 production units –mainly cooperatives– providing jobs to 1.400 producers, including vulnerable communities (Lebanese and refugees). It also conducts awareness raising campaigns and supported the recognition of two Fair Trade Towns in Lebanon: Menjez and Baskinta. In 2016, it hosted the 10th International Fair Trade Towns Conference.

In 15 years, Fair Trade Lebanon has developed a wide range of products resulting from traditional know-how, including olive oil, wine, preserves, jams, distillates, Zaatar, pickles, etc. which are sold through the fair-trade networks of outlets in Europe, the USA and in some Gulf countries, as well as on the Lebanese market.

Since the war in Syria (2011), Lebanon has been confronted with the arrival of Syrian refugees (1.5 million). So, Fair Trade Lebanon developed humanitarian programs such as training on food processing and marketing for vulnerable communities in rural and urban areas and refugees. They also use local products when distributing food.

Fair Trade Lebanon is not the Lebanese branch of Fairtrade International. However, they are part of the World Fair Trade Organization.

Finally, Fair Trade Lebanon is also a founding member of the Lebanese National Agroecology Coalition composed of 12-15 organizations (farmers, environmentalists, educative movements) that will be formalized later in 2024.

Partner Organizations:




September 2022 – August 2025

  • The total cost of the project is EUR 1 million.
  • The main donor is Agence Française pour le Développement (AFD).
  • Other donors are: Foundation ACTES, Region Ile-de-France, and Drosos Foundation.



Supporting the agricultural sector towards an ecological and social transition.


Agricultural context:

  • Lebanon is a Mediterranean country with high mountains (until 3,000 meters).
  • They do not have a high production of raw materials, but rather high-quality products that can be found in delicatessen shops in Lebanon and abroad.
  • They produce a great diversity of products which is a key asset: Citrus fruits, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and olive oil, almonds, grapes and wine, prunes, apricots, peaches, cherries, apples.
  • They also do small breeding activities and Most of the farms and processing units are very artisanal, family-based and small-scale.
  • Agriculture is not supported by policymakers, so there is an increasing quantity of abandoned agricultural territories.
  • The agricultural market is dominated by synthetic agrichemicals importers who offer their products at the beginning of the season and are paid at the end of the season, creating a dependency.
  • The awareness is increasing for organic and fairtrade products, thanks to the certification process (which is a guarantee for these producers) and visibility at farmers markets.


Economic and Political Context:

Lebanon faces multiple crises:

  • Economic: High inflation rates since 2019, but which also encourages some people to come back to rural areas and cultivate the land.
  • Political: Lack of government stability (e.g. the country has no President for 14 months, no elections, government is dismissed).
  • Currency: Weak banking system, lack of access to credits, declining purchasing power of Lebanese people.
  • Security: Current conflict in Gaza has direct repercussions in the Southern part of the country; use of phosphorous bombs has destructive effects on the environment, plants and soil thereby affecting


Main beneficiaries

People far from urban areas, vulnerable communities (suffering from the socio-economic crisis):

  • 1,200 people (including 50% women, and youth at the beginning of their business activities)
  • 600 members of production units trained
  • 110 production units access innovative funding (80 micro-enterprises, and 30 informal groups and cooperatives)
  • 5,000 people sensitized on fair trade and agroecology issues (via universities and the organization of two forums)




    Overall objective: Contribute to the revival of the Lebanese rural and agricultural economy by promoting ecological and social transition and providing financial support to fair trade actors and micro-enterprises.

    Specific Objective: Supporting and financing of cooperatives and micro-enterprises that adopt socially and ecologically sustainable operating methods. 


    Two main components:

    • Training in agroecological and farming practices targeting climate adaptation and mitigation.
    • Access to funding via micro-credits offered to projects’ beneficiaries to increase their activities or launch new ones.


    • Training for informal groups wishing to create a cooperative (e.g. olives, legumes, vegetables, fruits, aromatic herbs, honey, preserves) or future micro-entrepreneurs, and for groups of cooperatives and micro-entrepreneurs already established.
    • Organization of pilot local markets, in partnership with small producers and local authorities. Fair Trade Lebanon supports the participation of producers themselves (without intermediary) at local events and farmers markets (which are new and still uncommon) by paying for the transport costs.
    • Partnership between Fair Trade Lebanon and Al Majmoua to offer innovative financing solutions such as micro-credits.
    • Development of support modules for Fair Trade Lebanon: financial projections, creation of a cooperative, and business development.
    • Awareness and advocacy campaign targeting political decision makers.
    • Organization of two forums on “fair trade as a lever towards ecological and social transition”:
      • One at national level in 2024
      • One at regional level in 2025

    Effects and impacts

    Evaluation and Monitoring Methods

    The project did not use evaluation and monitoring methods at this stage, but plans to measure the impact of agroecological transition practises – for farmers as well as for processors – by relying on already existing impact measurement systems such as:

    • FAO’s Tool for Agroecology Performance Evaluation (TAPE), and
    • Biovision’s Business Agroecology Criteria Tool (B-ACT)

    An adaptation of these tools to the Lebanese context and processing units is currently being studied.

    Lessons learned and results

      • They have qualified people coming out from universities with high degrees in agronomy so there is a potential to develop small-scale enterprises and innovation (e.g. mushroom, red fruits), thanks to Lebanese people’s entrepreneurial spirit.
      • Creating a collective dynamic (e.g. AOP) and agreeing on common norms and standards can be tricky.
      • The absence of strong national agriculture policies does not incentivize the development of sustainable agriculture, fairtrade or agroecology. Big companies are also unable to buy land. Lebanese agriculture is largely based on family farming and smallholder model, with most of the land owned by smallholders (except in the region of Bekaa).
      • Both the increase of price of imported synthetic inputs and the higher demand in organic products triggered the creation of small start-up to produce local and organic inputs to in response to farmers’ demand, paving the way for enhancing circular economy and prompting better waste management.

      Ensuring traceability of food products

      • Firstly, farmers participate in farmers markets themselves, ensuring direct links between consumers and producers.
      • Secondly, the WFTO label ensures the traceability of food product.
      • Thirdly a QR code was developed to indicate the geographic origin of the products.
      • Finally, a local label specific to Lebanon (i.e., Transparency, Ethics and Quality TEQ) was developed as well.

      Benoit Berger, Fair Trade Lebanon, b.berger@fairtradelebanon.org

      Picture credits: Fair Trade Lebanon