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Crisis of marketing crops versus government’s disability


The minister of finance, Ali Hassan Khalil, uncovered during a Cabinet meeting on August 9 problems in funding (déblocage des credits) problems which are hampering the release of the 2nd installment of compensation to apple growers. The president of the Lebanese Farmers Association, Antoine Howayek, had earlier given the government one week ultimatum to resolve this impasse, describing what is happening as a relinquishing of responsibilities to disrupt the financing process. Howayek said promises by political parties to deliver the remaining batch of funds has exposed the lies they harbor and their disdain or indifference to Lebanese farmers. Khalil’s statement came in response to a question put by health minister Ghassan Hasbani on the subject, as reported by L’Orient Le Jour. Khalil made clear to the newspaper that the allocated sums will be dispensed, but did not give further details. To note, the previous cabinet of PM Tamam Salam had agreed last October to pay a sum of LBP 40 billion to grieved farmers half of which has been distributed (LBP 20 billion). However, the unfavorable situation continues to engulf different types of agriculture across the Lebanese regions. According to An Nahar, with the unending apple crisis and the stacking of produce in cold storage, pears are facing the same fate with pear growers calling for assistance to face an imminent disaster. Also, various agriculture cooperative associations in Tanourine, Bcharri, Ehden and Laqlouq have raised voice for the same demands. (L’Orient Le Jour, An Nahar, August 11, 2017)

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