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Agricultural export increase by 14%in 2012 and the Minister of Agriculture striving to open new markets || Newspapers (Arabic)


The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Hussein Haj Hassan, organised a joint Press Conference with the Chairperson of IDAL, Nabil Itani, with the attendance of the members of the IDAL board and representatives of the Chambers of Industry and Commerce in Lebanon, and a number of farmers and exporters.  The purpose of the event was to disclose the first results of Agri-Plus, a programme aiming at the development of agricultural exports, and currently being implemented by IDAL.  This new programme was launched a year ago and has already recorded a 14% increase in agricultural exports during 2012 scoring a total of 454 thousand tons in exports compared to 400 thousand tons in 2011.

Itani kicked off the press conference by presenting the various components of the Agri-Plus programme which seeks to support packaging centres and production plants in order that they can receive international certification for quality such as HACCP and ISO.  He added that the number of such centres has now reached 80 centers noting that five of these centres as well as ten farmers now have international certifications.  Itani also added that according to IDAL’s statistics, Lebanon exports of citrus fruits were the highest among agricultural products recording 102 thousand tons of exports (22% of total agricultural products).  A similar quantity of potatoes was exported and 38 thousand tons of fruits (9% of total agricultural exports). The programme according to Itani also recorded agriculture products which were exported for the first time such as olive oil, honey and seedlings with olive oil showing encouraging results as its exports reached 1132 tons.

The Minister of Agriculture noted that the total export figures are aggregated from the Ministry, the Directorate of Customs, and IDAL since there are agricultural products that are being exported outside the framework of the Agri-Plus programme.  The aggregate figures indicate that there is an increase in exports of most kinds of agricultural products except citrus fruits which declined by 16.79% in 2012 compared to 2011.  According to the Minister, this decline in export of citrus fruit can be largely attributed to the cut throat competition with similar Egyptian products.  However, he added that the decline in exports of potatoes and onions is largely due to restrictions placed by the Ministry on the imports of these products thus increasing local consumption and demand.  The Minister also confirmed that exports through maritime transport significantly increased particularly for apples (28 thousand tons of exports).  Maritime exports of olive oil, grapes, apricots and potatoes have also increased to 36 thousand tons.  The Minister finely indicated that a preparatory meeting will be held between the Ministry, IDAL, exporters and the unions of maritime transport in order to upgrade the current maritime export routes.  Within this framework, the Minister disclosed that several visits will be held to a number of countries notably France in order to explore new markets and diversify export outlets.

For more information about IDAL achievements c.f. IDAL releases its 2012 report and shares its achievement in supporting the agricultural and food processing sectors published on WEEPortal on 14/01/2013
Source: Al-Mustaqbal, Al- Safir, Al-Nahar 19 February 2013

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