The Environment and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) organized two events, one in each of the MedSNAIL pilot regions in Lebanon, West Bekaa and Chouf, to meet the producers and be acquainted with their products. The purpose of these events was to identify the producers’ marketing capacities –based on the products they produce and the goals they have for their businesses– to be sorted into the different pilot projects foreseen within the framework of MedSNAIL to be implemented: a producers’ consortium, a farmers’ market, a chefs’ alliance and a set of narrative labels. The event also featured a training session on Marketing and pricing that would benefit all the attendees of the event. The first Mock Market was held on 1st March 2023 in Kamed El Loz, the Hub selected for the West Bekaa region and was attended by around 12 different producers –predominantly women–, from across the region. The second Mock Market event was held on 17th March 2023 in Eco Khaleh, the Hub selected for the Chouf region, and was attended by around 16 producers –predominantly women–, from across the Chouf region.
The event began with opening statements from Ms. Patricia Naufal, the Project Coordinator for the Lebanese partner at the Environment and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU), who introduced the project and the purpose of the event to the attendees. The opening notes were followed by the marketing and product pricing training session conducted by Maha el Solh, the Marketing expert at ESDU. The producers then headed to their stands to begin the “Mock Market” session of the event, during which the producers introduced their products to the experts and they displayed their marketing skills and their business plans. The experts provided one-on-one guidance accordingly.
Through these events, the ESDU food and marketing experts were able to witness each producer in action at a market setting, while also sampling their products and getting to know their brands. By doing so, the team was able to get an accurate picture of each producer and their production practices, the extent of their advancement as a business, and the state of their food safety practices. Therefore, the team got a better understanding of which pilot project each would be best suited in.
Manale Abed El Hadi:
The marketing training was very interesting; especially learning about the way our products should be labelled. I also learned about the way to display and present my products and the benefits of exchanging some products with other producers.
I really benefitted from the training session on marketing and pricing, and the market motivated me to continue with my business.
We got the opportunity to meet other producers and exchange ideas about new products, as well as benefiting from the marketing training.