In light of the economic crisis plaguing Lebanon, Hezbollah has prepared programs for agricultural, social, industrial, and health projects, dedicated to ensuring the Shiite population’s needs, maintaining their nutritional security, and supporting financially weak families in achieving economic independence.
The agricultural projects have recently become more and more intensified, and they are part of the steps Hezbollah is implementing in order to deal with the economic hardships in areas of its influence in Lebanon. Hezbollah’s Jihad al-Bina Foundation and Hezbollah’s Agricultural Development Committee in the regions of Sidon, Nabatieh, and Baalbek inaugurated a number of such projects, under the name: “Cultivate your land with your hands” [ازرع أرضك بإيدك]. The projects are intended to promote home agriculture and to produce family agriculture at the lowest cost, with the intention of ensuring food supplies for the residents, and to turn the local population from an only consumer society – into a productive society.
The Jihad al-Bina Foundation is considered one of Hezbollah’s most important executive arms dealing with the establishment, rehabilitation, and construction of civilian infrastructures, including the implementation of projects related to agricultural infrastructure. Jihad al-Bina is a major operational and integral part of the building and sustaining of Hezbollah’s military infrastructure. Among other things, Jihad al-Bina takes part in the construction of Hezbollah’s missile and rocket concealment infrastructure throughout Lebanon and has led the construction of Hezbollah’s offensive tunnels along the border with Israel.
The Jihad al-Bina Foundation is another example of the inability to separate Hezbollah’s military infrastructure from the civilian one, and its involvement in agricultural projects shows the importance of the issue to Hezbollah.
The agricultural projects include activities such as distributing vegetable seeds for summer crops at a symbolic price not exceeding 15,000 Lebanese pounds (one U.S. dollar), training and agricultural consulting by agronomic experts, vaccination of livestock and veterinary supervision of farms.
During the inauguration of one of the projects in Nabatieh, the director of Jihad al-Banna in the southern region, Engineer Qasem Hassan, spoke. He said that Hezbollah wanted to “be on the side of the people” to carry out the agricultural jihad that Hezbollah secretary-general Sayed Hassan Nasrallah announced”.
In his speech from July 07, 2020, Nasrallah declared an agricultural and industrial jihad designed to cope with the economic difficulties and as a basic provision for the survival and the existence of a dignified life. According to Nasrallah, Hezbollah decided to fight for agricultural and industrial progress as a weapon against the threat of financial collapse and famine in Lebanon. All of Hezbollah’s resources, ties, and alliances will be devoted to this matter. The current situation and the level of the Lebanese economy and livelihood require the loyalty and the efforts of everyone. (Nasrallah’s solution to the sanctions and the economic situation – “Agricultural and Industrial Jihad”).