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Agriculture: legalization of cannabis in parliamentary discussion and ministerial efforts to revive sector


In its issue of September 22, Al Diyar daily addressed agricultural concerns in Lebanon. Since the shutdown in 2003 of the sugar beet factory in Bekaa by a cabinet decision, the Bekaa Valley has been facing indefinite problems. A majority of farmers have shifted to the cultivation of potato, onion, grains and vegetables, especially with the suspension of export to Arab countries and the invasion of foreign products via illegal border crossings, Al Diyar wrote. Bekaa farmers now look forward to the Agriculture Development Conference held today in Beirut which will focus on two main axes: Restoring the role of the agricultural sector, and emphasis on the cultivation of cannabis for medical uses in line with McKinsey Plan report. On this subject, Al Diyar pointed to demands by farmers and agricultural unions to expand cultivated areas in order to secure the return of USD one billion and two hundred thousand. The newspaper went on to say, the agriculture minister Hassan Lakiss, stressed the need to come up with alternative and productive crops, revealing that the legalization of cannabis bill is being seriously studied by the concerned parliamentary committees. On the other hand, Lakiss said in a discussion meeting with LOST in Baalbek on September 20, that local agriculture remained forsaken for decades by the successive governments, mentioning multiple challenges and hitches facing it, stressing efforts to resolve them through the development of strategic plans. Lakiss also said work is underway to overcome obstacles in export, particularly those facing land export activity, mentioning his visits to many Arab and European countries for this purpose. He clarified that in order to open new markets, the ministry has planned national days to promote Lebanese olive oil, apples and honey this coming October as well as other events devoted to organic farming and citrus fruits. (Al Diyar, September 20, 22, 2019)

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