Inauguration of the olive oil bottling station servicing Hasbaya Region under the Italian Patronage
In the presence of the Italian Ambassador Nicoletta Bombardiere, and within the framework of the Project DOT-OLIVE co-funded by AICS – the Italian Agency for Development and Cooperation and CELIM NGO;
El Khalil foundation has inaugurated the olive oil bottling and storing station, servicing the Hasbaya Region, South of Lebanon. Following the opening ceremony, the invitees visited the station and were gathered for lunch at the headquarters of the foundation.
The DOT OLIVE project aims to help olive growers, and cooperatives across Hasbaya municipalities to develop the farmers know-how and practices. It provides farmers, millers and other local actors with scientific analysis supported by LARI, the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute, and technical assistance all along the production chain. It assures traceability, aiming at fair trade and organic certifications. At the end, this transfer of skills and new technologies will result in a higher quality of olive oil in the region, to meet international standards.
An additional environmental dimension is to be mentioned; the mission of reducing the environmental impact on Hasbani River, by storing the liquid waste in specialized ponds and treatment plants, where the substance formed can help as a good quality fertilizer to the farmers and the water can be sprayed later on the fields.
Within this framework, an extra virgin olive oil brand was created under the name of “Mount Hermon” inspired by the beauty and history of the magni?cent lands of Hasbaya. It will be certified Fair & Organic and soon available for wholesale and retail on the Lebanese and Regional market.
In their speeches, the speakers emphasized on the social, economic as well as the environmental impact of this initiative. The Italian Ambassador Mrs. Bombardiere considered that the journey has just begun for the brand and the olive oil sector of Hasbaya has a potential to grow regionally and internationally. All the components of success are there, from commitment, to passion, to good quality of olives, good people, history, taste, beauty of the lands,… She has also promised a continuous support from the Italian Government towards this project and this region.
Sheikh Farid El Khalil, President of El Khalil Foundation, was pleased and thankful to launch the project under the Italian patronage. He highlighted the importance of the project for the community in Hasbaya: it gives hope to families, youth, farmers to stay in their lands and protect it. It creates employment as well as trade and export opportunities for the region. A strong agriculture and olive oil sector can generate economic revenues and social benefits helping in the growth and sustainability of the lives of people there. This later, is aligned with the never-ending mission and vision of El Khalil foundation in implementing people oriented initiatives serving the community.