Beirut November 18, 2016 – The Building Alliance for Local Advancement, Development, and Investment (BALADI) program, is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the René Moawad Foundation (RMF). The program celebrated the completion of the first Table Olive Processing Facility in Jezzine District (located in Roum village), funded by USAID in partnership with the Union of Jezzine Municipalities. This assistance will increase fresh olive sales for 270 farmers in 28 villages of the Union and create 10 new jobs.
The ribbon cutting ceremony took place at the new facility premises and was attended by Chargé d’Affaires, Danny Hall; USAID Mission Director Dr. Anne Patterson; the Head of the Union of Jezzine Municipalities, Khalil Harfouhce; Mayor of Roum municipality, Dany Haddad; Members of the Council of the Union of Municipalities of Jezzine; RMF Executive Director, Michel Moawad; representatives of local farmer cooperatives, and other community members.
USAID, through the BALADI project, assisted the Municipality in constructing and equipping the facility in the amount of $250,000, which will store, sort, grade, process, and package table olives. The facility will produce various types of processed table olive products such as pickled green olives and black olives, tapenades, and pickled sliced olives which are in high demand in the local market. The municipal union, including 28 municipalities, contributed around $268,000 worth of land, engineering designs, legal permits, construction services, and electric and water connections. The Union will also oversee the long-term operation and sustainability of the activity in partnership with two local olive producing cooperatives and the private sector. The inauguration of this project coincides with the beginning of the olive harvesting season in Lebanon
The five-year BALADI project supports municipal-led development activities. BALADI is currently assisting 59 activities which engage 157 municipalities for socio-economic development throughout Lebanon.