The Story Behind Berrad Fneideq

Fneideq is a major apple production village in the Akkar region at an altitude that ranges from 1,100 to 1,400 meters above sea level. Total annual production is estimated between 12,000 and 15,000 tons of apple depending on complimentary conditions. Farmers in the area are in great need for technical advice on preventive and treatment measures and on proper production practices in order to meet market requirements.

In 2011, the season in this area was characterized by:

  • Limited production due to late flowering, fungal disease (scab) and hail, which resulted in more than 45% loss in apple production when compared to the season of 2010;
  • Small farmers prefer to sell their produce at harvest in one lot to traders/brokers instead of having to incur additional storage costs at the risk of not being able to sell at a later stage being uncertain of their marketing capabilities;
  • Traders and brokers look for storage facilities near the only wholesale market in the North (Tripoli) where large wholesalers and exporters are clustered.

Berrad Fneideq is a cold storage facility, set to play a major role in the development of the apple value chain in Fneideq and the surrounding villages in Northern Lebanon.

ACDI/VOCA, a non-profit economic development organization that fosters broad-based economic growth, raises living standards, and creates vibrant communities, stepped-in to help Emkan reach its goals in Fneideq. They focused on building the Berrad Fneideq capacity by enhancing facility cold chain operations and developing its extension services program to enhance the production quality according to marketing standards.

The launching of pilot operations at the Facility started on Sep 29, 2011. The facility is keen on using the highest quality cold storage standards including an RFID system integration to efficiently control its stock management operations: It served 201 clients and stored 7,395 apple crates, which represents only 21% of a total capacity of 35,000 crates.

ACDI/VOCA volunteer, Dr. Mosbah Kushad, with over 30 years of experience on apple production, visited Lebanon and stayed in Akkar for 2 weeks (Jan. 17 – 25, 2012), and carried out the following activities:

  • Two workshops for farmers on fruit tree training, pruning, and disease management.
    The workshops served as a platform for growers to ask questions pertinent to their own farms. More than 50 participants, including farmers, extension specialists and members of other NGOs attended.
  • Four field demonstrations to present proper pruning techniques to farmers.
  • Training facility staff on measuring fruit firmness, soluble solids, and starch and color parameters. In addition to assisting them in establishing a set of parameters to use to identify dates of harvest and storage potential of fruits.
  • Training facility staff to identify the most serious insects and diseases that affect apple fruit production in Akkar.  In addition to assisting them in laying the groundwork for developing a pesticide spray program for these serious pests, based on available and registered pesticides in Lebanon. 

In addition to the above activities, Dr. Kushad discussed with Facility staff issues and recommendations about Production Stage, Harvest Stage, and Postharvest Stage. Reference documents and related manuals were provided as well.

Upon Dr. Kushad’s visit to Berrad Fneideq and his recommendations, the Facility Management decided to procure a humidification system to:

  1. Control RH in storage rooms
  2. Install 4 weather stations to initiate an IPM/IFP outreach program
  3. Play a marketing role
  4. Provide some in-kind incentives to farmers such as soil and leaf testing, new tree varieties, and drip irrigation systems; in order to obtain their commitment to our extension program and maintain staff development and training.

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