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Potato & tobacco growers appeal to government for help

23-5-2018

Tobacco and potato farmers continue to suffer in Lebanon (c.f: https://bit.ly/2s0yuau). After the call made by MP, Tarek Mer3abi, to concerned authorities for an immediate halt to the entry of Syrian potatoes smuggled into the country, a number of potato growers in Akkar discussed yesterday in an emergency meeting at the Cooperative Association of Potato Farmers in Akkar threats caused by climate change and unlawful competition. The Association President, Omar Hayek, appealed to the president of the republic, the prime minister and the ministers of finance and agriculture to end the illicit entry of Syrian potatoes into the country which has adversely affected the agricultural seasons, warning of an imminent disaster that could hit potato growers as a result. Hayek threatened to take to the streets if the government did not enact deterrent measures needed to resolve the smuggling impasse. On the other hand, a joint Lebanese Forces and Kataeb (Phalange Party) delegation from Rmeish, Bint Jbeil, visited yesterday the secretary general of the Higher Relief Committee, Maj. Gen. Mohamad Kheir, to brief him on the large losses inflicted on the tobacco produce in the town and the diseases hitting the crop. Kheir in turn promised to start an estimate survey of the losses in Rmeish early next week. It is to be noted that the president of the Tobacco Farmers Union in the South, warned last week of a real disaster to the industry in a number of villages, particularly in Bint Jbeil, calling the government for action. (Al Diyar, May 23, 2018)

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