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The Association of Farmers: The problems of the agricultural sector persist and the Ministry of Agriculture has failed to play its role


The President of the Association of Lebanese Farmers, Antoine Hoayek, noted in a statement issued yesterday that the Ministry of Agriculture has failed over the last three years in resolving the problems of the agricultural sector.  Hoayek pointed out to the recommendations of the social and economic forum which was organised in February 2009 by the European Union in order to develop a strategy for the agriculture sector in Lebanon, and which included: the setting up of a proper mechanisms for agricultural lending, reviewing the law pertaining to the National Fund for Agricultural Development, adopting insurance programmes to protect harvests in case of emergencies and natural disasters and, finally, separating the chamber of agriculture from the chambers of commerce and industry.  Hoayek further noted that these demands were included in the 2009 ministerial statement but were later disregarded. Hence farmers were not issued special IDs and were not registered, as a first step towards their inclusion in the social security funds.  Furthermore, the Ministry failed to register their agricultural vehicles as private vehicles.  In addition, no mapping was made of agricultural property and investments so that these can be insured against natural disasters.  Finally, farmers’ access to loans and credits was not facilitated and no regulation of land usage was made.
Hoayek further added that the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI) was a total failure and has not been able to provide proper weather forecast which has caused severe damage to the sector.  According to Hoayek, LARI has disregarded its key role as an early warning center to prevent against weather disasters hence causing serious damages to farmers. He went on to complain that the Institute did not properly react to disasters and that LARI staff members were not held accountable for their negligence or misuse of their positions.
Source: Al-Nahar, Al-Diyar 3 January 2014

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