An integrated hydro-agricultural development plan for Marjeyoun

25 Jan 2012

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The UNDP Hydro Agricultural Development Project for Marjeyoun Area, the Litani River Authority and the  CIHEAM - Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari – Italy organized on January 24th the first stakeholders meeting on an integrated hydro-agricultural development plan for the caza of Marjeyoun entitled: “Challenges and Achievements” at the Holiday Inn hotel in Verdun.

Funded by the Spanish Government, the “Hydro-agricultural development project of Marjeyoun” is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in close cooperation with the Litani River Authority and the Association of the Friends of Ibrahim Abdel Aal. 

During the seventies, the Litani River Authority (LRA) executed the planning of the “hydro Agricultural Development project of Marjeyoun” in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

One of the outputs of this project was the design of “Canal 800”; a series of distribution networks designed to provide water for irrigation from the “Quaroun” Dam in West Bekaa to an area of about 15,000 hectares south of the itani River Lebaon (Quelia and Marjeyoun area).

The length of the canal is 52 km starting from “Markaba” plant in west Bekaa. It transports 110 million cubic meters of water per year to twenty main reservoirs distributed in 12 irrigation perimeters south of Litani River.

The target area is divided into 12 irrigation zones distributed across the Cazas of Marjeyoun (two zones covering 2,569 hectares), Nabatiyeh (one zone covering 1,570 hectares), and south Quassmieh (nine zones covering 10,916 hectares). Canal 800 is designed to supply irrigation water at the rate of 6,600 – 7,000 m3 per hectare per season.

In his opening speech, Dr. Selim Catafago, Chairman of the Litani River Authority, highlighted the importance of the strategy of this project for the Litani River Authority. Under the framework of the Canal 800 project, the pilot project will be considered as a model that would inspire the whole target area. 

Mr. Nasser Nasrallah, President of the Association of the Friends of Ibrahim Abdel Aal, stated in his speech that the Canal 800 project is the most important agricultural project in the Middle East. 

Mr. Seifeldin Abbaro, UNDP’s country Director, shed the light on the importance of the agriculture sector in Marjeyoun, adding that “this project will secure a better source of livelihood for the people of the area and will generate additional employment opportunities”. 

For Mr. Juan Carlos Gafo, Ambassador of Spain in Lebanon, this project can be considered as a pilot project, in terms of use if the existing irrigation canals, under which training sessions on new techniques of irrigation and water efficiency are being carried out. 

The sessions of the meeting discussed the challenges and the achievements of the hydro-agricultural development project in Marjeyoun area.