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Avocado cultivation boom in South Lebanon


L’Orient Le Jour highlighted today the booming cultivation of avocado in the country according to FAO statistics which pointed to some 3700 growers, including 80% in the South and the remaining in the Akkar region. Extoling the features of this kind of agriculture, Shafiq Eid from Jezzine said he started planting the crop six years ago and is now harvesting around one thousand tons every year, mentioning that he had to wait three years for the production to yield. Eid said he received support through the USAID-funded Lebanon Industry Value Chain Development Project (LIVCD) launched from 2012 to 2019 at USD 56.2 million, and which allocated USD 3 million to the growing of avocado. Sandra Fahd, an expert on the US program, explained that the latter aims to educate farmers on how to attend to this agriculture to double production, improve quality and select the convenient varieties. She noted that since the kick-off of the avocado support undertaking in 2013 (as part of the LIVCD project), the USAID has trained about 900 farmers, backed some 853 small and medium enterprises in the field and prepared 800 hectares of land for the planting of avocado. Fahd maintained that while the rate of production at the local level did not change (8200 tons per year), the US agency has contributed to introducing new varieties. She praised the unique properties of avocado from the early fruit stages which lasts more than other crops, the significant financial proceeds, (one kg is sold at LBP 2500 to 4500), with nearly 90% consumed domestically. To note, Lebanon has imported in 2016 some 326 tons at USD 641,000 and exported 492 tons at USD 561,000, destined mainly to the Arab Gulf states. (L’Orient Le Jour, October 23, 2017)

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