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Spring 2017

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Despite Regional Instability, Lebanon’s Honey Sector Reaches New Heights

Even before more than 1 million Syrian refugees crossed into Lebanon, the nation’s agriculture sector was struggling to serve its 4.5 million citizens.

Since 2011, Lebanon’s “agripreneurs” have had to change course due to the instability in the region and risks along the border. The once-thriving Iraqi export market was eliminated with the shutdown of the Syria-Iraq border. Passage by land to key Arabian Gulf markets was blocked by the Syria-Jordan closure. Sea routes proved too costly for crop aggregators and exporters because the transit time rendered their produce less fresh and less competitive. And Lebanon’s farmers lacked the crop varieties and quality of produce to meet the higher expectations of alternative markets in the Gulf and Europe.


The Lebanon Industry Value Chain Development (LIVCD) program, a five-year initiative funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by DAI, was launched in 2012 to enhance the competitiveness of select agricultural sectors from farm to end market. However, as a result of the Syrian crisis, whose severity was unforeseen five years ago, LIVCD pivoted to assist Lebanon’s agriculture entrepreneurs to adapt to the fall-out from Syria’s civil war.

The results have been dramatic. The LIVCD team succeeded in assisting growers and purveyors of six targeted crops to maintain and even expand their businesses. Outstanding successes have been achieved in the country’s beekeeping and honey sector, to take just one example, where production volume and value of sales have doubled since 2012 to an estimated US$70 million annually. Exports have also doubled over the same period.

The Lebanese Sweet Spot

Lebanon offers perfect conditions for producing high-quality honey: its four-season...

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Unlocking Capital: How USAID Pushed the Frontier of Financial Services and Built a Foundation for Economic Growth in Kenya

In 2010, as part of the U.S. Government’s Feed the Future initiative, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) designed the Kenya Financial Inclusion for Rural Microenterprises (FIRM) project. FIRM aimed to push the frontier of financial services into the agricultural sector where smallholder farmers—the bulk of Kenya’s 45 million people—were mired in poverty.

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Big Gains in Access to Safe Drinking Water: How Four African Countries Did It … and How Others Can, Too

In 1990, the East African nation of Ethiopia stood among the nations in most dire need of water development. Seventeen years of war had left its government and systems in disarray. Only 11 percent of its more than 48 million people had access to piped or other improved water sources; the rest used unimproved sources such as unprotected wells and carted drums. Predictably, Ethiopia and countries in similar straits suffered through high rates of communicable, pandemic, and vector-borne disease, child mortality, and other challenges tied to water, sanitation, and hygiene.

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Afghan Municipalities Raise More Revenues, Deliver Better Services, Enhance Stability

The long-running conflicts in Afghanistan have threatened to reduce its municipalities to mere clusters of people rather than organized cities operating for the local good. But this is changing. Many municipalities are now gaining strength, establishing financial systems, increasing revenues, and improving service delivery by virtue of technical assistance funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

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Six Ways to Mitigate Instability in Central America

Some people might be surprised to know that most of the migrants trying to cross the U.S. southern border come not from Mexico but from countries to Mexico’s south.

Eighty percent of the unaccompanied child migrants detained at the border in the year ending September 2016—roughly 47,000 out of 59,000—came from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Migration from these “Northern Triangle” countries has spiked since 2013, with many migrants forced from their homes because their families are impoverished, their communities overrun by gangs, and their countries’ governments ill-equipped to fix such problems.

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Sexual Harassment Law Passes Afghan Houses

Harassment in the workplace in Afghanistan is a major deterrent to women’s participation. In the private sector, women regularly suffer verbal and physical abuse, blackmail, and the use of authority to coerce sex. But this treatment extends beyond the private sector.

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Simple Solutions: Nutrition and Garden Training in Afghanistan Improves Food Security for Thousands

As in many developing countries, mothers and children in rural Afghanistan suffer from chronic undernutrition, often because they lack knowledge. Thousands of families in northern Afghanistan are now enjoying improved nutrition and food security thanks to work by a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) economic growth program.

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Market Systems Development Boosts Farming, Nutrition in Bangladesh’s Southern Delta

Bangladesh’s Southern Delta—home to 30 million people—is afflicted by inefficient farming, persistent poverty, and poor nutrition. But a market systems approach applied by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Agricultural Value Chains Program (AVC), a Feed the Future initiative, is beginning to show great promise for the region.

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