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Farmers’ seasonal plight in Lebanon

11-10-2017

With each new season, Lebanese farmers raise their voice to highlight the difficulty in marketing their harvests and to slam the negative attitude of government, which are causing financial losses. Al Diyar newspaper said in an agricultural feature, that with the end of September and the start of October of each year, the Beqaa farmer is on a date with more disastrous circumstances brought about by poor marketing of the apple production due to the ongoing conflict in neighboring Syria and the closure of the transit route to Arab states via Syria. A group of local farmers criticized government’ response stating that the first batch of compensation for apple growers was insufficient to compensated their huge losses. While many others admitted that the government’s procrastination drives them to engage in the illegal cultivation of cannabis, as well as in robbery and theft. On the other hand, agricultural cooperative associations in Batroon area, outlined in a letter to the agriculture minister, its requests and needs, including observing an additional share for olive coops in the Caza, and provision of assistance to apple and olive growers in terms of fertilizers and marketing their crops. On the other hand the chief of the Beqaa Farmers Association, Ibrahim Tarshishi, announced on Friday the disbursement by the ministry of finance of a LBP 23 billion cash advance allocated for the current wheat harvest supply, and asked farmers to prepare their produce for delivery as per LBP 590 for one kg, as approved by the Cabinet. Tarshishi said the decision ends a 3-year chapter of inaction by the government which refrained from collecting the supplies and compensated farmers financially. On a related note, MP, Anwar Khalil, commended the recent decision of Prime Minister Hariri to support olive oil production in Hasbaya and Marje3yoon. (Al Diyar, Al Mustaqbal, September 25, 29, 2017)

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