Challenges and Sustainability of Wheat Production in a Levantine Breadbasket

The Case of the West Bekaa, Lebanon

Keywords: Farming Systems, Levant, Lebanon, Subsidy, Sustainability, Wheat

Abstract

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.

Author Biographies

Salwa Tohmé Tawk, Lebanese University and American University of Beirut

Associate Professor, Faculty of Agronomy, Lebanese University; and member of the Environment and Sustainable Development Unit, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, American University of Beirut

Mabelle Chedid, American University of Beirut

Environment and Sustainable Development Unit, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences

Ali Chalak, American University of Beirut

Department of Agriculture, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences

Sarah Karam, American University of Beirut

Environment and Sustainable Development Unit, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences

Shadi Kamal Hamadeh, American University of Beirut

Environment and Sustainable Development Unit, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences

Published
2019-04-03
How to Cite
Tohmé Tawk, S., Chedid, M., Chalak, A., Karam, S., & Hamadeh, S. (2019). Challenges and Sustainability of Wheat Production in a Levantine Breadbasket. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 8(4), 193-209. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2019.084.011
Section
Open Call Papers