Regie’s Support for the South: Revitalizing Border Communities With a Tobacco Seedling "Rescue" Initiative To Provide Displaced Border Region Farmers with Distributed Tobacco Seedlings

16 January 2024

The Lebanese Regie for Tobacco has announced a proactive measure in solidarity with southern families, addressing the challenges they face. Termed “rescue initiative”, the Regie has initiated the planting of tobacco seeds on its lands with the intention of distributing the resulting seedlings to farmers. Given the current security situation impeding timely planting (typically from December to February), this effort aims to support those unable to cultivate their lands due to these circumstances. The initiative underscores the Regie’s commitment to the resilience of the communities in the South, providing essential resources for their stay in their hometowns.


In a recent address, Eng. Nassif Seklaoui, Director General of the Regie, expressed the Regie’s unwavering commitment to supporting farmers. He emphasized its dedication to its national, moral and humanitarian responsibilities. Seklaoui affirmed the Regie’s keenness to boosting the resilience of farmers in border villages. This commitment is exemplified through an exceptional initiative involving the planting of Regie-owned lands with tobacco seedlings.  The aim is to provide support to farmers who, due to security concerns, are unable to cultivate their own lands.


Seklaoui outlined that the Regie’s management committee, in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Purchasing, and the Leaf Tobacco Department, has made a decision to partner with select farmers. This collaboration aims to plant seedlings in Saadiyat and secure areas. The intention is to offer these seedlings to farmers in border regions who are currently unable to engage in planting due to prevailing security concerns.

The Head of Agriculture and Purchasing Department, Engineer Jaafar Al-Husseini further explained the typical planting process. “Farmers traditionally initiate the planting of seeds in protected nurseries in plastic tents from December to February each year. The growth period spans between 45 days and two month, after which the seedlings are transported to the soil for planting.  


He expressed regret over the situation in the border region, highlighting that it has resulted in the displacement of residents from villages where tobacco fields make up a substantial portion, ranging from 45 to 50 percent, of the land designated for tobacco cultivation in the South. The current circumstances have rendered it impossible for farmers in this region to proceed with their customary seed planting. Moreover, there is uncertainty about when the situation will stabilize and allow them to resume their agricultural activities.


In consideration of these circumstances and recognizing its responsibility to support farmers during these challenging times, the Regie has taken the decision to personally oversee the transplantation process. This initiative involves utilizing the land at its research center in Saadiyat, and on another rented land in Maaroub. The aim is to wait for approximately two months, allowing the seedlings to reach full maturity, with the anticipation that the security situation will have stabilized by then. Subsequently, the fully-grown seedlings will be distributed to farmers for planting in their respective fields and villages.


Pointing out that 5,362 farmers are reaping the benefits of this proactive initiative, he emphasized, “If, regrettably, the farmers in the border region are unable to return to their villages and plant seedlings on their lands even after two months – a scenario we hope to avoid – then the seedlings can be distributed to farmers in other regions.”.

Al-Husseini commended additional initiatives, including the announcement by the mayor of Rmeish. In a town still maintaining around 40 percent of its population and situated at a relatively considerable distance from the border, the mayor revealed that local farmers possess a substantial quantity of seedlings. Furthermore, they stand prepared to share their surplus with neighboring towns in need.



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