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“Farmers Markets” to boost food security

26-6-2020

As part of initiatives to boost food security, Jihad Al Bina2 launched recently the “Farmers Market” project in the Southern Suburbs of Beirut, Tyre and Hermel areas to encourage farmer-to-consumer direct marketing. Speaking to Al Akhbar daily, the general director of Jihad Al Binaa, Mohamad Khansa, said the venture will begin with three markets as a first phase, revealing that the purpose is to help farmers who are actually the weakest and most vulnerable link in the food supply chain and to sustain food sovereignty as a fundamental part of national sovereignty. Khansa explained that Lebanon imports nearly 85% of its basic goods (80% of meats and livestock for slaughter; 50% of animal-based white products; 100% of yellow cheeses and butter and around 50% of fish and sea food). The fiscal policy, he stressed, has been hushing up the crisis, but now after the coronavirus, “everything has come into the open and we are at risk of a major food crisis,” as he said. Nonetheless, Khansa added, the ordeal was an eye opener for many, raising societal awareness on seeking food sovereignty in the place of fast profit and consumption behavior. Food, he maintained, is not an ordinary commodity, but rather a political security one that cannot be subject to supply and demand. In other words, in food terms, one cannot afford to choose low-cost import over high-cost production. Bottom line, basic crops are sovereign commodities that are not benchmarked according to economic profit only. In conclusion, Khansa disclosed that Jihad al Bina2 and Hezbollah have tried to lobby the state to actively take part in increasing grain production, but their attempts were hampered by bureaucratic difficulties. He added that available areas for cultivation, can go a long way towards self-sufficiency and food security if a clear agro-food strategy is adopted, and thus loosen Lebanon dependency on international trade. In conclusion, it is worth mentioning that currently, and on average, the share of a single Lebanese farmer out of each LBP 1000 paid for any kind of vegetables or fruit is a mere LBP 190. (For more, kindly refer to the following link: https://bit.ly/3hZJ9L7). (Al Akhbar, June 25, 2020)
 
 

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