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Farmers' misfortunes: Blocked borders, unfair competition, unpaid compensations


After Syria regained control over the Nassib land crossing on the Syrian Jordanian borders (c.f: the minister of agriculture in the caretaker government Ghazi Zeaiter revealed that negotiations are underway with concerned Syrian authorities to reopen the borders to Lebanon’s agricultural exports to Arab countries. Zeaiter was speaking during the opening on July 14 of a modern olive oil press in Hermel. Also during a press briefing on July 1, the minister said he plans to visit Damascus to discuss with Syrian officials the necessary arrangements in preparation for an imminent resumption of the export activity from Lebanon. Meanwhile, a number of farmers in Zahleh Caza dropped their tomato and cucumber produce on the streets of Furzul leaving them to rot after they failed to sell it due to fierce competition from similar goods smuggled from neighboring Syria causing a sharp decline in prices of their crops. Regarding compensation earmarked for olive farmers in Hasbaya and Marjeyoun, and after the finance minister’s confirmation last February to this effect, (c.f::, the Development and Liberation bloc MP, Anwar Khalil, disclosed this week that the heads of the parliament and cabinet have raised the matter with the concerned minister during the parliamentary session for the election of members of the Committee, to which the finance minister reiterated that the imbursement is final pending the executive orders of the prime minister. (Al Diyar, Al Mustaqbal, An Nahar, July 17, 18, 2018)

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