Karm Chbat: The Waterlogged AppleJan 3, 2018
Al Qobayyat is a town located in Akkar governorate in North Lebanon. In Aramaic, "Al Qobayyat" means big pools of water, which reveals that the region has historical been very water-rich. Al Qobayyat is a very old town that was a major trading route on the Silk Road. Many old monuments and artifacts dating back to the time of the Phoenicians, the Greek and the Roman Empires, and others are spread around the valleys of this town. The village also hosts some of the largest green areas in Lebanon which includes Karm Chbat, one of best preserved Cedar forest reserve in Lebanon. Inside the reserve, 50,000 apple trees are grown that cover 40% of the area of Karm Chbat.
Although Al Qobayyat has abundant water supplies, poor infrastructure hinders water supply to all the agricultural land, particularly inside the reserve. An existing 50,000 m3 pond currently irrigates approximately 25,000 apple trees. To optimize the usage of the available water resources, UNDP with funding from the Government of Germany and KfW, and in cooperation with the Ministry of Energy and Water, constructed pipes and concrete canals that would improve irrigation to an area of 50 ha of apple orchards.
Today, the apple market is important in the town; a large part of the production is sold internally, and the other is exported to neighbouring towns. As the apple market constitutes a significant part of Qobayyat’s economy, it is necessary to maintain and improve it. The construction of pipes and canals improve water delivery and potentially reduce costs. Farmers no longer need to purchase as much water for irrigation, which reduces cost of production, and increases farmer’s profit, thereby paving the way for a more sustainable economy.