Back to their roots: two brothers revive a family tradition

Joseph and Carlos are two brothers living in Andket, Akkar; they work on farming a plot of land that the family has owned for more than sixty years.

Joseph was a mechanical engineer working abroad and Carlos handled construction projects. Nine years ago, Joseph went back to his village while Carlos stopped working and they decided to revive the plot of land and work in agriculture.  

“It was always our father’s wish for us to never leave the land. And today we understand what he really felt,” Joseph says.

Joseph and Carlos now grow kiwis, olives, pomegranates, grapes, and seasonal vegetables like lettuce and broccoli in the winter. The brothers also produce natural products from their crops like disinfecting alcohol and the Lebanese drink arak. They say that climate change has dramatically impacted their business. As summers are getting hotter and winters colder, the brothers’ harvest is being affected.

The more the Lebanese Lira loses its value, the more profit is affected, “Let’s say we plant our crops when one dollar is 18,000 LBP,” Carlos explains, “by the time we harvest them, the dollar has already reached 30,000 LBP. And since we must price our products in LBP, but buy our tools, seeds, and fertilizers in dollars, we end up barely breaking even.”

But Joseph and Carlos love their land and they will continue to work despite the challenges. “Working between the trees gives inner peace,” Carlos says, “I can forget about everything that bothers me.”

During this past year, Joseph and Carlos enrolled in AFDAL 3 courses supported by the World Food Programme (WFP).

They learned a lot in their farming technique courses, but they especially loved their business courses.

“We sell our disinfecting alcohol,” Joseph says, “first we used to just keep it at our houses, ask around a small circle of people if anyone is interested. Today, we know how to market it on social media,” he says enthusiastically.

They both have big dreams for their land and plan on passing their passion to their children, hoping they will be attached to their roots.

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