FAO in Lebanon

FAO Lebanon trains MoA’s technical staff on how to build a successful on-farm irrigation system


Good management is a major component in the success of an irrigation system and giving the crop enough water to take up during its growth without degrading the soil resource, plant nutrients or wasting water, is not an easy task.

In this context, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Lebanon and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), organized a seven-day training during the month of October 2022 for the MoA’s technical and regional departments, on Irrigation Water Management.

From design to implementation, the training built the capacities of MoA extension service on guiding farmers from all over Lebanon in designing their irrigation systems and managing water more efficiently.

This training activity falls within the framework of the project “Enhancing resilient livelihoods and food security of host communities and Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon through the promotion of sustainable agricultural development”. It is funded by the European Union and jointly implemented by FAO and the World Food Programme (WFP), in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA).

All through the training, Antoine Slim, the FAO Lebanon’s irrigation expert, provided a systematic guidance to the twenty-six trainees from the MoA and shared with them case studies on how to estimate water needs of crops and design on-farm irrigation systems.

The training consisted of five theoretical days of discussing topics such as soil characteristics, crops water needs, types of irrigation systems, irrigation network components, in addition to showcasing case studies and working on practical exercises, as well as assembling irrigation demonstration kits.

Two site-visits in the fields were an integral part of the training. The first one took place in Zahle (Zahle caza), and the second one in Saida and Aadloun (Saida caza).

During these field days, participants were able to discover different types of irrigation systems and to better understand their functioning based on the crop’s types and needs.

“Being an agricultural engineer, I had some experience in the irrigation field, but my experience was a bit limited. So, when we started attending this training organized by FAO Lebanon, I was curious to know whether it will be beneficial for me or not, and I was surprised of how much it was!” said Fatima Messelmani, one of the participants from the MoA.

Fatima then explained how helpful the training and field visits were and how it introduced her, as well as all other participants, to many new information, facts, and techniques related to the domain such as soil properties and the water needs of different types of agricultural crops.

The training also targeted subjects such as irrigation scheduling methods and types of irrigation systems as well as calculation of water flow and types of pumps and filters to use. This has allowed participants to learn how to design and implement a successful irrigation system.

“We learned a lot in terms of calculations and water estimation. We now know how to calculate the crops’ need for water which is a very important matter. We really hope that we will get to have more training opportunities like this one,” concluded Fatima.

From his end, Zeid Sliqa from MoA’s Agricultural Centre in Hasbaya, Nabatieh Governorate in southern Lebanon, explained how useful being on site was and how important the field visits were. He said: “I was able to see how irrigation systems were actually implemented and how the mechanism works on the ground which is something that cannot be done unless you actually visit the field and see things with your own eyes.”

Throughout these site visits, participants did not only learn about the irrigation systems and their components in nurseries, soils cultures and fruit trees such as on grapevine varieties, but they were also introduced to the whole process of designing an irrigation system using a field assessment checklist for a parcel that is not yet planted.


Brief on the EU funded project “Enhancing resilient livelihoods and food security of host communities and Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon through the promotion of sustainable agricultural development”:

The project responds to the reduced livelihood and food security levels resulting from the Syrian crisis, in Jordan and Lebanon. It tackles its negative impact on the host communities through support to the agriculture sector in improving the agricultural productivity and the farmers’ income in addition to the creation of job opportunities for both host communities and displaced Syrians.

In line with the national policy strategy and with the current Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP), the project also aims at promoting social protection mechanisms for the benefit of the host farming community and the displaced population.