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Agricultural unions demand a plan to salvage the sector

26-2-2019

The Beqaa Farmers’ Gathering appealed to the new minister of agriculture, Hassan Lakees, to put an emergency plan to salvage the waning agricultural sector. The suggested plan includes the following: suspend import licenses issued earlier and re-organise them to meet local market needs; revise licenses for the importation of all kinds of fruits and vegetables; cancel all licenses involving the export of banana from Syria and Jordan or livestock to Arab countries, as well as cancellation of licenses for the import of pesticides, frozen potato, cheeses and dairy products, apples and pears. The Gathering asked Lakees to seek the regulation of agreements made with Syria, Jordan and Egypt to protect the Lebanese farmer, and negotiate with the Syrian authorities to reduce the tariffs enforced on trucks crossing through the Naseeb crossing. On the other hand, minister Lakees promised a delegation of poultry and livestock farmers who visited him on February 20, to look into the sector’s needs, particularly on the matter of halting the issuance of any import licenses to protect the industry. A delegation member, Saad Raad, said Lebanon currently produces its domestic needs from poultry, protesting against imported products that dump the local market at very competitive prices. For the same purpose, a delegation of poultry producers in Akkar visited MP Hadi Hbeish decrying the suffering of farmers and the deprivation threatening thousands of households because as a result of illicit competition of the frozen broilers imported from Brazil or smuggled from Turkey via the illegal border crossing which led to the price slump. (Al Diyar, An Nahar, Al Mustaqbal, February 22, 23, 24, 2019)

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