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Agriculture represents 4% of GDP, 6% of domestic labor force


The minister of agriculture, Ghazi Z3aiter, said yesterday that the agricultural sector constitutes a key source of income and employment in rural areas, representing nearly 4% of the GDP and 6% of the national labor force. Z3aiter pointed out that Lebanon is considered a main importer of agro-food products, particularly that made-in-Lebanon goods barely cover 20% of the local needs, noting that while the total surface area of arable land is 330,000 hectares, only 250,000 are exploited. Z3aiter was speaking during the launch in Beirut of the joint FAO-ESCWA ‘Prospects for Enhancing Food Security in the Arab Region’ report. Z3aiter revealed the rate of households suffering from food insecurity which is about 10% of the total number of households in the country, citing a 2015 study on household food security status. On the other hand, potato growers in Akkar held a broad meeting yesterday as a follow-up of the open meetings to address the recession in the Akkar agriculture season, securing markets for the local goods and halting the importation of the Egyptian potatoes. In this respect, the president of the Cooperative Association for Potato Farmers in Akkar, Omar Hayek, appealed to the prime minister to salvage this year’s harvest and protect farmers and their produce in order to avoid further escalation on their part. In Zahleh, agricultural syndicates called for a meeting in continuation of their protests against the year-round import of potato and onion from Egypt. Participants agreed to meet with the agriculture minister on February 4 in Baalbaq to take the right decision that best serves the Lebanese farmers, and therefore decided to call off the strike scheduled for today, February 2. (Al Mustaqbal, February 2, 2018)

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