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Lebanon: Price rises in climate crisis because of war in Ukraine
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Lebanon: Price rises in climate crisis because of war in Ukraine

Rana’s greenhouse used to be filled with different kinds of vegetables. The climate crisis is forcing her to opt for crops that are resilient to water shortages. Photos: WFP/Edmond Khoury


Rana receives training from WFP to help him make the most of his diminishing resources. Photo by WFP/Edmond Khoury

A tangle of muddy roads lead to Rana’s farm, which is nestled between the snow-topped peaks of Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. 

Perhaps they are a metaphor to the various factors. World Food Programme(WFP) warns that rising fuel and food prices are a result of rising costs and climate change in the Middle East and North Africa.

Since she was a child, Rana has got up at 5 a.m. to make a living out of what she loves most: being busy on her parents’ farm. “I am a farmer at heart,” says the former nurse. “I feel an itch whenever I stay between four walls for too long.” 

Rana, however, is just one of millions of Lebanese facing a crumbling economy, rising costs, and Ramadan.

Fuel and food prices are being affected by the conflict in Ukraine. Import-dependent Lebanon gets 80 percent of its wheat from Ukraine – which together with Russia supplies 30 percent of the grain worldwide. 

Last year, the cost of a food basket – the minimum food needs per family per month – Reports indicate an annual increase in 351 percent in Lebanon, followed by Syria at 97 percent, and Yemen’s 81 percent.

Sadly, wheat shipments to Lebanon are forced to arrive on smaller ships, after the devastating Beirut blast in 2020 destroyed the country’s largest grain storage silos.

Rana is one of the most prominent examples of climate change because they are facing prolonged dry spells that cause severe damage to their fields. 

“I thought last summer would never end,” says Rana. Rana said that she had to sell half of her cows and sheep to pay for the fodder.

“I also had to get rid of most of my vegetable yield last year because of a bug infestation,” she adds. When it doesn’t rain it’s “heaven for these little critters”. This summer she expects more and more of her crops will “fall victim to climate change”. 

She adds: “You don’t need a weather app to tell you something is not right. You literally feel it on your skin.” 

Heat and humidity make agricultural labour more difficult. Rana must also cultivate crops earlier or later than normal to avoid financial ruin from a poor harvest. 

Wildfires are ravaging Lebanon, causing havoc and forcing people to flee their homes. Since 2017, WFP in Lebanon has been on the front line of the response to the country’s climate crisis. We have saved more than 502 hectares from fires by planting over 1.1million seedlings. 

WFP, in collaboration with the American University of Beirut is currently implementing an innovative pilot project to strengthen the adaptive abilities of rural communities. This includes supporting smallholder farmers from areas such as Akkar and Bekaa, Baalbeck and Hasbaya. 

Rana had to sell some sheep in order to be able to feed and care for the rest. Photo by WFP/Edmond Khoury

It is helping farmers to reduce the impact of climate change by enhancing their marketing skills and managing their livestock.

WFP is currently looking into replicating this work as well as similar livelihoods projects. However, a lack of funding hinders our full support to vulnerable people – including farmers – as they approach the brink. Funding is vital to build on past successes and support more people who are in greatest need.

Rana’s greenhouse used to be filled with different kinds of vegetables. The climate crisis is forcing her to opt for crops that are resilient to water shortages – planting aromatic herbs like mint and rosemary instead of the usual, and more lucrative, tomatoes, green peppers, and zucchini. 

Climate change is not going away soon. It is already here, and farmers like Rana have been at the forefront of it. Photo by WFP/Edmond Khoury

“What I’ve learned in this project is eye-opening. I’m producing cost-friendly, organic fertilizers out of things I’m accustomed to throwing out,” says Rana, adding that this has allowed her to use the money she has saved to compensate for some of her losses.
So instead of buying fertilizers, she is making them out of things she’s accustomed to throwing out.

Rana predicts that as Ramadan prices rise, more families will be left with little to eat after breaking their fast.
WFP remains at the forefront of the humanitarian response to Lebanon’s crises, currently assisting one in every three people across a country that is now reeling under the impact of local and global crises. 

Learn more about WFP’s work in Lebanon


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