Challenges and Sustainability of Wheat Production in a Levantine Breadbasket
The Case of the West Bekaa, Lebanon
The farming sector in Lebanon, particularly grains production, is threatened by environmental, socio-economic, and political factors that have led to a high dependence on food imports, thereby undermining national food security. This study focuses on wheat production in its natural Mediterranean habitat (the Levant) and its sustainability in the West Bekaa through value chain analysis that aims to identify constraints and opportunities in the production system. The analysis is based on a survey at the level of the producers to identify the planted wheat varieties, wheat production systems, land tenure systems, marketing channels, socio-economic factors of farmers, and different types of wheat by-products. This study reveals important challenges facing the sustainability of wheat production, including farmers resorting to hybrid wheat varieties, the dependence of farmers on wheat subsidies as an incentive, the lack of land tenure security, and the virtual absence of well-organized cooperatives. On the other hand, our evidence suggests a strong dependence among wheat farmers on integrated production systems that promote agricultural sustainability. We conclude this report with recommendations to secure the sustainability of wheat production in West Bekaa in particular, and in Lebanon in general.
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