With a generous contribution from the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), the much-needed renovation of the AREC creamery was launched in September 2020 for the period of five months. The renovation works were completed on time and were followed by workshops to provide local dairy processors with the necessary tools for establishing their own dairy processing plants and training them on “Best Production Practices" by addressing the managerial requirements involved in running a successful agribusiness.
Seven training cycles were conducted, each composed of three training sessions. These sessions were delivered by the Environment and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU) and the AREC team over a 4 months' period (May - August 2021). Farmers and producers from different villages in the Bekaa were trained on: i) Food safety and hygiene in dairy production; ii) Cheese production; iii) Packaging, planning, branding, marketing and circular economy. The curriculum included theoretical training and hands-on experience held in the creamery. A total of 105 trainees, mostly women, were trained by ESDU through an inclusive outreach process prioritizing vulnerable communities. The participants received a Certificate of Attendance upon the successful completion of the raining curriculum.
The training rounds were concluded with an official inauguration ceremony of the Creamery(September 2nd) and distribution of certificates to trainees in the presence of the Coordinator of TIKA Beirut Office, Mr. Orhan Aydin and Deputy Coordinator Mr. Mohamad Maksoud in addition to the FAFS Interim Dean Dr. Ammar Olabi, AREC Director: Dr. Mustapha Haidar, Ms. Mariam Sabbah, Associate Director of Development and ESDU representative Ms. Sarah Karam as well as FAFS & AREC staff.
During the event, Mr. Aydin expressed TIKA's full support to the Lebanese farmers as well as TIKA's willingness to sponsor future capacity-building projects.