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Farmers did not benefit from central bank exchange subsidies

4-11-2020

Efforts by the central bank to support farmers through subsidizing agricultural goods and equipment did not achieve the desired aim, and have largely benefited a few privileged firms, according to the chief of the Beqaa Farmers Gathering, Ibrahim Tarshishi. This endeavor, Tarshishi added, focused on reducing the cost of imported production of several items, like barley, wheat, corn, beans, chickpeas and lentils, which eventually nipped similar local crops in the bud, whereby seeds, fertilizers and medicines which farmers buy in hard currency should have been targeted. Farmers, he explained, are directly affected by the exchange rate of the dollar which resulted in a gap between the cost of production and the consumer’s purchase ability. Tarshishi appealed to the ministries of agriculture and economy to respectively help farmers and consumers through reducing the cost of production and commodity prices. Finally, he revealed that over 50% of farmers have abandoned their lands after they lost their capital, with only a small portion still steadfast and investing in farming. In a related event, member of the Liberation and Development Bloc, MP Qassem Hashem, demanded the projected government to give the agricultural sector utmost importance for it constitutes a main pillar of national economy. (Al Diyar, November 2, 2020)

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