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Fodder crops regress by 50% and livestock breeders amongst the most affected


As Safir newspaper published a report about the challenges facing livestock breeders in Koura as they are trying to secure feed and vaccines from their own resources given the absence of any support from the part of the state, and amidst the greed of traders who buy milk at less than the production cost.  According to Tony Youssef, owner of a cows’ farm in Kura, assistance for this sector is distributed to farmers selectively and to some areas and not others.  He adds that some areas have received milk refrigerators, milking machines and pasteurization vessels while Kura received none.  The president of the agricultural centre in Kura, agronomist Marwa Hammud noted that there are projects and campaigns funded by international organizations and which cover feeds and vaccines and these are implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture according to the available means.  Hammud also noted that some vaccination campaigns are not carried continuously thus forcing livestock breeders to buy their own vaccines when they need them during periods when these are not covered by campaigns.  She added that the new vaccination campaign will kick off again in a month.  With regards to animal feeds, she noted that distribution is often faced with the problem of the limited capacities of warehouses which are not able to receive all donations in kind.

The report also relays other challenges which prevent the Ministry of Agriculture from implementing all its projects namely the fact that the Ministry’s technical team comprises only one technician covering the entire North Lebanon area whereas the normal institutional structure entails having one veterinary doctor and one veterinary technician for each area.  She added that post for Becharri area is still presently vacant and is covered by Hammud for the moment in addition to her work in Koura and whilst awaiting the official memo to fill vacant posts with those who have successfully completed the civil service exams.

As Safir newspaper also noted in a separate report that fodder crops is harshly suffering from climate change and low level of precipitation according to agronomist and head of Terbol municipality Fadi Khoury.  Khoury noted a drastic decrease in the total surface area planted with fodder crops which will undoubtedly have a sever impact on production.  This is bound to lead to large importations of fodder crops at higher costs thus increasing the cost of local dairy products.  According to Khoury, low level of rains is expected to cause a 50% drop in the total surface area of cultivated fodders thus decreasing the total area under production to 50000 dunums this year.  
Source: Al-Safir 22, Al-Safir 24 March 2014

For more information about the seminars held by MoAg last week, please refer to the news piece published previously on WEEPortal:
The Ministry of Agriculture organises two extension seminars in Koura and Akkar on livestock and olives protection, on 17/3/2014

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