BEIRUT: Fair Trade Lebanon currently offers a viable economic model to farmers in rural regions of Lebanon. It provides around 50 cooperatives with adequate equipment, training sessions on hygiene, quality control, and best practices according to Fair Trade regulations and principles.
More than 1500 attendees enjoyed Lebanese rural specialties and celebrated World Fair Trade Day in an event organized by Fair Trade Lebanon on Sunday at St. Georges’ Convent, Roumiyeh- Qleyaat.
With the support of Minister of Economy and Trade Mansour Bteich, the event brought together Fair Trade supporters, food influencers and Lebanese lifestyle bloggers around fresh Lebanese products under the slogan “Meet the Producers.”
“In Lebanon, there’s a lack of trust in local products, yet, there are a lot of certifications that prove the high quality of coops’ rural goods. Today is an opportunity for people to meet the trustworthy producers of these products,” said Christy Massabni, marketing and communication executive at Fair Trade Lebanon.
She added: “I encourage people to buy from local products because it’s not only about the money, it’s a whole mission and a commitment to our home country.”
In its eighth edition, the family-friendly event gave participants the chance to enjoy an authentic lunch buffet freshly prepared by Fair Trade Lebanon’s cooperatives.
Live cooking shows offered a variety of amazing dishes, such as freekeh, stuffed vine leaves, walnut kibbeh and many more. Kids at the event had many options from workshops that taught them how to cook on a Saj and to paint faces, alongside the many inflatable games that appeal to their inner adventurer.
“Today is a reminder of what Lebanon has to offer; the variety and deliciousness of food is something to be proud of. The people serving it represent the Lebanese community perfectly: a smile, a welcoming face and a genuine attitude,” said Cathy Frem while indulging in a freshly-squeezed peach juice.
The event also hosted “Souk Jana Loubnan,” a fresh fruit and vegetable market, where more than 30 cooperatives featured their products, saj baking, gardening, painting, honey making, and recycling activities.
Bishop Guy Noujeim inaugurated the ceremony and thanked the guests for their continued encouragement and support. President of the Association Samir Abdel Malak also thanked both Expertise France and Care International who made this celebration possible.
Mr. Bteich gave the closing speech in which he highlighted Fair Trade Lebanon’s many achievements and wished them a future full of success.
“Thanks to Fair Trade Lebanon, the event today celebrates teamwork and promotes the relationship between people and their country. It is a source of hope for all the producers and especially women who make half of the society,” he said.
Mohammad Al Saleh, member of Majdala-based cooperative, said: “Fair Trade Lebanon is our number one motivator to produce more; we consider it as our backbone. The event today is a wonderful chance to unite consumers with producers.”
Lebanese farmers are now exporting more than 70 Lebanese products of fine quality through Fair Trade Lebanon’s network to Europe, UK, Australia, the Gulf countries, and the United States.
“The Lebanese culinary heritage is a trend, and is demanded everywhere. I encourage people to start their own businesses in rural areas because we have a lack of such initiatives. We promise the coops a whole journey of support with our sustainable model because we both believe in this mission,” Massabni told Annahar.
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