- Title: Despite the financial crisis, small farmers see hope in new Lebanese initiative
- Date: 9th July 2020
- Summary: HAND SWIPING MOBILE SCREEN TO SHOW PRODUCTS AVAILABLE AT MAWSAM
- Embargoed: 23rd July 2020 15:31
- Keywords: Coronavirus Egypt Eviction Health Migrants Refugees Sudanese Umemployment
- Location: AAKOURA, LEBANON
- City: AAKOURA, LEBANON
- Country: Lebanon
- Topics: Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA002CM38FO5
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Nicolas Gholam, co-founder of e-commerce website Mawsam for local produce, is helping small-scale, sustainable and eco-friendly farming to support farmers and help consumers find affordable products around Lebanon at a time of unprecedented financial hardship.
Mawsam, which means ''season'' in Arabic brings local producers in direct contact with consumers who are looking for locally-sourced products at a fair price.
Customers who are looking for fresh vegetables or home-made jam can simply browse the online market place and place their orders.
So far, Mawsam created a network of 30 producers selling 330 products from fresh vegetables, jam, honey and soap in the past three months.
Over the past months, the Lebanese economy has been in melt down with the local currency losing as much as 80 percent of its value against the dollar in the blackmarket.
More Lebanese have had to turn to charities or private initiatives to survive. Even those who can afford to buy food have had to rethink how they spend whatever precious money they have as the country faces a crisis on an unprecedented scale but without a clear solution in sight.
Talks with the International Monetary Fund IMF over a possible bailout have stalled. The government has little other ideas about how to resolve the crisis.
But even if they find themselves alone and without government help, Gholam, his partners and the farmers believe this is an opportunity to change consumer habits and improve the quality of life of farmers in rural areas.
''Initiatives like Mawsam and others - the market needs them, society needs them, the economy needs them. They might not be able save the entire economy (from the crisis) but it can alleviate (the suffering) that comes with it," Gholam said.
One farmer and guesthouse owner says regardless of whether or not it succeeds, the initiative is a sign of going back to the roots in difficult times.
Lebanon depends heavily on imported goods for which prices have soared. The government has also hiked the price of subsidised bread, sparking protests this month.
A World Food Programme report in June found that 50 percent of Lebanese feared they would not have enough to eat.
(Production: Imad Creidi, Ahmad El Kerdi, Alaa Kanaan, Ayat Basma)
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