Lebanon looks to heirloom seeds to remedy wheat shortage
Published: June 6, 2022
Category: Impacts of War in Ukraine
Lebanon has taken serious hits since 2019: a financial crisis, energy crisis, pandemic, and the 2020 Beirut port explosion. Now, the war in Ukraine, a country supplying 80% of Lebanon’s grain imports, has triggered a wheat shortage and a compelling need for homegrown seed. The Lebanese pound’s dramatic drop in value versus the U.S. dollar has prevented farmers from importing the seeds and chemicals needed to supply the shortfall domestically.
Seed producer and sustainable farming school Buzuruna Juzuruna is experiencing a surge in demand for its heirloom seeds and knowledge about how to grow sustainably.
“The number of seeds we’ve distributed has multiplied by three every year since 2017, but this spring is very, very intense,” says Ferdi Beau, a co-founder of the farm. “It’s no longer just people that are aware of organic farming and think it’s important for their health and the environment that come to us. Now it’s anybody, any kind of farmer.”
Buzuruna Juzuruna has been growing ancient wheat grains from Iraq and Syria that are more drought-tolerant than industrial alternatives—and are grown without water. “They are able to survive… They have roots that go very deep.”
Beau and his group work 13-hour days to help around 800 families living in food insecurity. Buzuruna Juzuruna is optimistic that its heirloom seed bank and farming protocols—if applied country-wide—could ease a way out of the crisis.
Source: Financial Times
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Organic & Non-GMO Insights June 2022