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Cattle farmers critical of subsidy on imported powder milk

22-6-2020

In its issue on Saturday, Al Akhbar daily wrote that while dairy cow breeders awaited support in light of the dollar and lira crisis, the government opted for subsidizing importation of powder milk at the expense of local production. In the details, the newspaper said that rather than protecting the domestic dairy sector, the Lebanese state decided to back imported powder milk packed in 25 kg bags hence encouraging dairy and cheeses factories to replace fresh milk with powder milk and sell it as organic milk products. Al Akhbar went on to say, that dairy plants which directly import milk save nearly LBP 400 per a kg of powder milk compared to the fresh product. On this subject, the head of Cattle Breeders, Omar Kheir, disclosed that the Syndicate has asked the economy ministry to reconsider the subsidization decision which as he said, harms local breeders and violates LIBNOR standards. The latter to note, disallows the use of powder milk in this industry with the exception of labneh, provided that it mentions the ingredients are powder-milk based, which the majority of factories do not observe. Kheir stressed that the above decision has exacerbated the situation, noting that problems facing the sector have increased since last October with a slump of the fresh milk production from 700 tons to 400 tons per day due to the fluctuation of the dollar. This has forced many to relinquish the business which no longer subsists a decent livelihood, Kheir lamented. (Al Akhbar, June 22, 2020)

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