Organic Certification and Market Development in Lebanon
Swiss - Lebanese Project on Organic Agriculture
The project on “Organic Agriculture Certification and Market Development in Lebanon” with a budget of CHF 1,200,000 is launched in the context of the conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement with the EFTA states (Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland) and Lebanon in 24 June 2004. Within the framework of this Agreement Lebanon and Switzerland have agreed on a bilateral technical assistance program to be implemented during a period of 3 years. The total budget of the granted technical assistance is 5,000,000 CHF and it covers the following components investment promotion, trade-related capacity building, export promotion programs for agriculture, and other areas of cooperation.
The EFTA-Lebanon Free Trade Agreement (FTA) covers trade in industrial goods, including fish and other marine products, as well as processed agricultural products. The Agreement takes into consideration the different levels of economic development between the EFTA States and Lebanon by providing for an asymmetric tariff dismantling. The EFTA States will eliminate duties and other restrictions for covered products upon entry into force of the Agreement and Lebanon will gradually abolish its duties during a transition period starting in 2008 and ending in 2015.
Within the project on “Organic Certification and Market Development in Lebanon”, two Lebanese organizations and up to four marketing initiatives will benefit from financial as well as technical support provided by the Swiss government. The Association for Lebanese Organic Agriculture (ALOA) an organization representing the organic movement which is still in the process of registration will be supported to promote organic agriculture in Lebanon and to develop the organic sector. The other beneficiary is Libancert, a local control organization initiated by AUB providing certification for organic products. Experts from the Swiss “Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FIBL)” will assist the Lebanese partners to meet international requirements and standards and to explore and develop market opportunities.
The Free Trade Agreement is further opening markets for Lebanon. In order to fully take advantage of these opportunities, Lebanese enterprises need to increase their competitiveness and to adapt to quality and environments standards prevailing in the export markets. Organic agriculture is a fast growing business worldwide with a growth factor of 5 % in the EU, 12-16 % in the US and 10-30 % in Asia.