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Food security in Lebanon: Difficulties in meeting basic needs, malnutrition on the rise

21-10-2020

In a study released last August and entitled “Is food security in Lebanon under threat?’, ESCWA said the country relies heavily on food imports to meet the needs of its population. It warned that half of the people of Lebanon are at risk of not having access to basic food needs by the end of 2020 in the wake of the devastating Beirut Port blast. This, the report showed, is combined with the collapse of the value of the local currency (by 78%), the lockdown enforced by the coronavirus and the sharp surge in the rates of poverty and unemployment. In the details, the study pointed to the depreciating value and the inflation in the rate of the lira which reached more than 50% in 2020 compared with 2.9% in 2019. In July 2020, the average price of food products increased by 141% compared with July of 2019, the study said, anticipating a further rise due to increased costs of imports after the Port’s explosion and the lack of trust in the governance of food availability, which could induce panic buying. In conclusion, the ESCWA report warned of a cost increase of agricultural production by more than 50% for various agricultural systems, which could reduce the national agricultural output in the immediate term. (More on the study on the following link: https://bit.ly/2HmLrGm). In a related development, FAO representative in Lebanon, Maurice Saadeh, revealed to An Nahar that the high prices of food items and the sharp decline in income could undermine the overall purchasing power of the population of Lebanon. This will prompt many households to cut their purchases of food products, either through consuming less food or buying cheaper and lower quality foodstuffs in terms of nutritional value, Saadeh noted, expecting a sharp rise in malnutrition cases in the country, specifically among the poor. (Al Akhbar, An Nahar, October 14, 16, 2020)
 

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