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Using Public-Private Partnerships to Promote Community Development in Lebanon

Published 04/18/2012 by Global Communities

Using Public-Private Partnerships to Promote Community Development in Lebanon
Funded by the United States Agency for International Development, CHF Lebanon Municipal Capacity Building and Service Delivery –TAMKIN program (2008-2012) succeeded in inducing the concept of Public-Private Partnership in the municipal community development work. Supported by the CHF/TAMKIN team and the Mohammara Municipal Development Committee [formed and capacity-built under the program], the Mohammara Municipality entered into partnership with the private sector to operate a newly established nursery for vegetables seedlings’ production in Mohammara, Akkar.

A preceding SWOT analysis facilitated by CHF/TAMKIN team with the Mohammara MDC had shown that the agriculture sector in the village offered many opportunities for potential investments which would have a positive impact on the area’s existing greenhouses. Around 700 greenhouses owned by 150 farmers exist in Mohamara. The total number of workers in these greenhouses reaches 300 and they are mostly seasonal workers. The most cultivated agricultural products in these greenhouses include cucumber (2,000 tons/year), tomato (1,000 – 1,500 tons/year), eggplant (1,800 tons/year), green pepper (6 tons/year) and others. Yet these greenhouses are considered traditional as they are covered with plastic boards with no heating system. One of initiatives prioritized by the MDC to boost this sector was to establish an advanced nursery for growing vegetables’ seedlings which can receive the farmers’ seeds and secure their appropriate development within controlled and safe environment. The grown seedlings could also be sold to farmers or owners of the greenhouses for cultivation in turn into mature products. The existing greenhouses in Mohammara and surrounding villages do not posses the required techniques to grow the seedlings yet they possess high demand on these types of products. The proposed nursery would also offer a chance to graft eggplants and tomatoes as per local consumer preferences without the need to drive to Beirut to get these grafted seedlings since they are not available in Mohammara or in surrounding villages.

In order to implement this project, the Municipality of Mohammara rented a land plot for $2,000 per year for 10 years and established through TAMKIN funds a modern nursery. The nursery comprises 1,1980 m2 of covered multi-span greenhouses, a cooling system, a heating system, an irrigation system, a plastic cover underneath gravel to prevent weed growth from the ground, as well as 100 tables and tourbe making machine. A retaining wall was also executed on the borders of the nursery. The total cost of the project amounted to $100,214. Upon completion of construction works, the Municipality launched an open invitation for interested private sectors to bid for the operation of the nursery. The highest bidder signed a five-year Public-Private Partnership agreement through which he pays $10,000 for the municipality upon operating the nursery for the first year. This amount is increased by $1,000 each consecutive year. The nursery operator and staff were trained on Good Agricultural and Integrated Pest Management practices by a local consultant as per USAID/PERSUAP Requirements. Operations started in January 2012 where 114,550 virusfree seedlings of cucumber, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and pepper were produced and sold at competitive prices to 14 farmers’ beneficiaries.