Beirut 15 May 2015 – The Building Alliance for Local Advancement, Development, and Investment (BALADI) program, funded by the United Stated Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Rene Moawad Foundation (RMF), laid the foundation stone for a fruit cold storage facility in Ehmej, Jbeil. The cold storage facility project, developed by the municipality and community of Ehmej and funded by USAID, will benefit over 130 people working in apple farming in Ehmej and ten surrounding villages annually. The ceremony was attended by USAID Lebanon Acting Mission Director Gail Spence Board member of René Moawad Foundation Mr. Michel Moawad, the representative of the Head of the Office of Common Administration at the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities Mrs. Racha Hourani, representatives of Ehmej municipality and Ehmej Association for Development, as well as fruit farmers from the area.
The USAID BALADI project is contributing $250,000 to help more than 3,000 residents within the community of Ehmej establish the cold storage facility that will accommodate 36,000 fruit crates. The facility will increase the income of farmers by allowing them to safely store their harvest to obtain better off-season prices. The USAID BALADI project will also provide the farmers with training on cold storage planning, sorting, grading, packing, and other post-harvest techniques for apples and fruits.
The five-year USAID-funded BALADI project is currently supporting 17 municipal-led development activities benefitting 58 municipalities that will benefit and improve the livelihoods of more than 100,000 people by the end of the program in 2017 throughout Lebanon. In 2015, 40 additional community activities will be selected for funding under the program. USAID BALADI supports municipalities to work inclusively with citizens to accomplish needed community development activities.