Under the auspices and in the presence of His Excellency the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Akram Chehayeb, the Cooperative of Native Tree Producers of Lebanon (CNTPL), was officially launched on July 27, 2016. The event was attended by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director Dr. Anne Patterson, representatives from the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment, municipalities and unions of municipalities, private sector companies, local environmental NGOs, academic institutions, international donors and various reforestation stakeholders.
Today’s launch showcased the successful collaboration between the nine different native tree nurseries forming the cooperative. With the support of international experts and institutions, the native nurseries have unified their seedling production protocols to produce vigorous seedlings able to survive and adapt to harsh and diverse field conditions.
Mr. Maroun Aziz, President of the CNTPL, affirmed that the cooperative’s efforts have led to a visible increase in survival rate post-planting and a decrease in seedling production and planting costs. With the expertise it has on board, and with the long-term support of the USAID-funded Lebanon Reforestation Initiative (LRI), the cooperative is increasingly recognized as a national reference for good quality seedling and best planting practices.
Dr. Patterson emphasized USAID’s commitment to CNTPL, which receives financial and technical support through LRI to improve its production practices: “We will continue to support the Cooperative to improve its managerial capacity, establish long-term public-private partnerships, and foster strong collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture to achieve the cooperative’s vision to become a national reference in seedling production and reforestation and to ensure that community reforestation efforts are sustainable.”
Mr. Akram Chehayeb, Minister of Agriculture announced that a three-year agreement will be signed between the CNTPL and the Ministry of Agriculture to coordinate seedling production and share expertise with Ministry nurseries to successful and sustainable reforestation in Lebanon. He also highlighted that the cooperative has the capacity to produce around 500,000 seedlings per year of more than 40 native tree species. It will therefore be a key contributor to the 40-million tree campaign launched by the Lebanese Government.