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Agriculture in Lebanon has yet to receive the due public attention


L’Orient Le Jour brought attention to the continuous neglect by the government of the agriculture sector which accounts for nearly 5% of the GDP and sustains some 200,000 households directly or indirectly, according to Research Center for Agricultural Studies figures. In this respect, the head of the Lebanese Farmers’ Association, Antoine Howayek, lamented the absence of adequate policies to regulate the sector, blasting the current government in particular. Howayek pointed to a decline in exports by over one third following the closure of the Nassib Crossing on the Lebanon-Syria border and the increased smuggling and illicit competition. Similarly, MP Wael Abu Fa3ur pressed for a plan to combat smuggling that has flourished recently on the legal border crossings, appealing to the Customs Department and the ministries of agriculture and economy to step up measures that protect Lebanese production. For his part, the president of the Syndicate of Exporters of Fruits and Vegetables in Lebanon, Naeem Khalil, said smuggling is mostly carried out via the Abboudieh crossing in the North, and while praising the work of the Lebanese Customs, he noted inadequate human resources within the apparatus to monitor and control the smuggling activity. On the other hand, prime minister, Saad Hariri, mandated the Higher Relief Council (HRC) to carry out the estimate survey of tobacco losses in the southern town of Rmeish, Bint Jbeil. This comes after the premier received calls from former minister, Mohamad Fneish and MPs Ali Bazzi and Hassan Fadlallah on the situation. To recall, a joint Kataeb-LF delegation last week visited HRC secretary general to brief him on the huge losses in the Rmeish tobacco season. (: (L’Orient Le Jour, Al Diyar, Al Mustaqbal, May 24, 25, 28, 2018)

Previous related news:
Potato & tobacco growers appeal to government for help
Tobacco potato and wheat growers register heavy losses

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