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Back to square one concerning citrus and apple marketing


As the new government has yet to address pending agricultural files, Bshareh MPs, Sethrida Geagea and Elie Keyruz, demanded the current Minister of Agriculture, Ghazi Zeaiter, to urgently implement the cabinet decision of October 6th 2016 which stipulates the distribution of subsidies to apple growers (c.f:  Citing relevant sources, An Nahar newspaper noted that the distribution of compensation is set to start next March as the Ministry of Finance has already transferred funds amounting to LBP 40 billion to the Higher Council of Relief.  Zeaiter also noted that he has discussed with the Egyptian authorities a number of issues during his last visit to Cairo including apple export to Egypt.  The president of the association of Lebanese farmers, Antoine Howayek, noted for his part that the issue is larger than that of apple export.  Howayek said that compensation for apple growers is but a temporary solution as the crisis has yet to be resolved and is likely to recur within the coming few months.  In addition, citrus growers in South and North Lebanon are still suffering from marketing challenges notably due to the closure of the Lebanon-Syria border.  Within the same vein, the member of the Syndicate of citrus and fruit exporters, Abdallah Fadel, called on relevant ministries as well as on IDAL to raise the level of subsidy from LBP 100,000 per ton to USD 300.  He also called on the government to waive taxes on agricultural drugs as a way to relieve farmers’ burdens.  The vice president of the coalition of Southern Farmers, Rida Fadel, raised red flags calling on the government to find marketing outlets especially for citrus produce in Akkar and ensure that immediate mechanisms be put in place for that matter including halting the illegal entry of products from Syria. (Al Mustaqbal and the Daily Star, January 21st, 30th and 31st 2017)


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