FAFS hosted a workshop on “Climate Smart, Innovative Food Preservation & Processing Technologies Applied by Women in Rural Environments in the Near East and North African Region”. The workshop was organized by Dr. Mohamad G. Abiad, associate professor at the NFSC department, in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), on June 26 and 27, 2018.
The recently launched State of Food and Agriculture Report makes the case that needed transformations in rural economies can be sparked by leveraging growing demand for food in urban areas to diversify food systems and generate new economic opportunities in off-farm, agriculture-related activities. This includes enterprises that process or refine; package or transport; and store, market or sell food, as well as businesses that supply production inputs such as seeds, tools and equipment, and fertilizers or provide irrigation, tilling or other services.
Rural food processing can play a vital role in rural poverty alleviation, the empowerment of rural women and in sustainable development. It can enhance farm incomes by offering a ready market for farm produce, generate off-farm employment, and reduce rural-urban migration. Accordingly, the two-day workshop tackled the technologies used by rural women in primary and secondary food processing in the context of their climate smartness. Speakers discussed effective, climate smart processes that save on energy consumption, minimize water usage, reduce waste generation and utilize renewable energy as well as recycling. They also emphasized the importance of applying relevant policies and financial strategies to encourage and support the use of these technologies.
FAFS Dean Rabi Mohtar, FAO representative in Lebanon Mr. Maurice Saade, FAO regional office representative Ms. Phoebe Lewis as well as Dr. Mohamad Abiad offered the welcome and opening remarks.
In his speech, Dr. Abiad stressed that climate change is a “current reality threatening livelihoods and food and nutrition security.” He added that “food processing operations are a significant source of waste generation, a major use of energy and a contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions”, hence the need for climate smart food processing and preservation technologies (FP&P).
Underlying the benefits of FP&P technologies and their impact on the environment, communities and people, the workshop featured three sessions presented by prominent speakers from AUB, FAO, Lebanese Ministries of Agriculture and Environment, Lebanese University, Rural Delights Cooperative, Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL), Country energy efficiency and renewable energy demonstration project for the recovery of Lebanon - United Nations Development Programme" (CEDRO-UNDP), American Depositary Receipt (ADR), Kafalat, Vitas, Lebanon-Industry Value Chain Development (LIVCD), Berytech/Agrytech, and Food Heritage Foundation. The sessions’ topics were: status and prospects of innovative climate smart food processing and preservation technologies, good practices and related interventions in Lebanon; enabling environments for rural women's access to appropriate climate smart food processing/preservation technologies: financial mechanisms in Lebanon; innovative Technologies for Food Processing and Preservation used by women in rural areas from the NENA Region.
In his concluding remarks, Mr. Djibril Drame, FAO representative, stressed on “FAO's availability for further collaboration, particularly with institutional partners, in terms of formulation and implementation of concrete actions recommended by this workshop towards promoting the agro-food sector, generating income for the food chain actors, achieving food and nutrition security for all in the NENA region.”
More than 100 attendees and representatives from the Near East and North African (NENA) region attended the workshop, including NGOs, cooperative, industries, universities, ministries, FAO, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), UNDP, IDAL, and financial institutions. Participants were from Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan, Oman, Tunisia, Morocco & Qatar.