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Crisis hits flower and seedlings trade, 10,000 families at risk


In its issue of today, Al Diyar drew attention to the flower and seedling industry which has been directly hit by the consecutive economic, financial, climate and health related crises thus putting some 10,000 families at risk. The difficulties the sector faces, the newspaper wrote, started last year with the wild storms that wreaked havoc thus incurring huge losses on the beds of roses. The dollar shortage and the devaluation of the Lebanese pound also triggered a jump in the prices of raw material, agricultural tools, fertilizers and medicines. Then came the coronavirus pandemic which shattered all hopes of a booming season anticipated by flower growers. On the subject, Al Diyar spoke to the head of the Syndicate of Flower Cultivators in Lebanon, Elias Kamel, who disclosed that flower sales in the country reached annually between USD 17 million and USD 21 million, but regrettably, it dropped significantly as a result of the economic collapse. Many farmers, he explained, have destroyed their crops during the last Christmas with losses amounting to nearly LBP 2 billion. Workers in the sector sold only 15% to 18% of their produce, Kamel said. He criticized the Covid-19 enforced lockdown decision taken by the caretaker government, pointing to its negative impact on marketing local production. Flower growers make a living from selling their harvest in the local market which has now become impossible. The flower industry is totally marginalized, even though it is a productive rather than a consumer one. (Al Diyar, November 19, 2020)

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