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Akkar’s potato production suffers from external competition and poor climate and aims to be exported


As Safir newspaper published a report today on Akkar’s potato production which is facing harsh circumstances this year as a result of the latest frost wave which affected the harvest both in terms of quality and volume.  Other challenges include the availability of foreign potatoes notably from Egypt which some traders have imported in great quantities before the deadline asset in this year’s agricultural calendar and which was May 26th.  This affected growers in Akkar negatively at a time when they were looking forwarding to exporting this season’s harvest to Europe after securing a clean bill of health indicating that the Akkar potato is pest-free.
Within this framework, the Akkar potato farmers told As Safir that the state is not protecting them particularly to help them harvest in early April, a period during which import of potatoes should have been frozen when in reality these continue to submerge the Lebanese market.  Farmers insisted that they should be compensated for the losses they are having as a result of unfavorable climate and competition with foreign products.
The president of the cooperative association for potato growers in Akkar, Omar Hayek noted that there was a 30 to 40% loss in this season’s harvest which was initially expected to reach score 100,000 tons but  will not exceeded 70000 tons.  This quantity, according to Hayek, cannot be marketed locally and farmers will need to export some 40000 tons to European markets.  Hayek asked the Minister of Agriculture, Akram Shehayeb, to pursue the efforts initiated by his predecessor and finalize agreements for exports and conclude contracts with companies.
Source: Al-Safir 3 June 2014

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