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Import of Egyptian potatoes suspended and quantities reduced in favor of local production


The minister of agriculture Abbas Mortada announced Monday a decision to freeze the import of potatoes from Egypt until February 18, that is 18 days from the normal date, giving only one month to import this produce and at a reduced quantity, 25,000 tons as the limit. Lebanon, Mortada said, will continue to export vegetables and fruits, namely apples, grapes and cherries to the North African country, noting that the above decision was made in consultation with the Egyptian counterpart and taking into consideration quantities in refrigerated warehouses, market needs and associated increase in prices. For his part, the head of the Syndicate of Potato Farmers in the Beqaa, George Sakr, praised the ministry’s efforts to help in marketing local production and protecting the Beqaa and Akkar potato harvest. Such decision, Sakr maintained, is unprecedented since the signing of the Lebanese-Egyptian agreements to this effect. Recalling, that potato growers have set yesterday as the date for a strike across Lebanon to protest their inability to market their produce, demanding the minister of agriculture to immediately stop imports of Egyptian potatoes. They canceled the strike after the minister’s decision. Mortada has earlier on February 9 warned of an imminent increase of the price of one kg of local potato to LBP 4000 as a result of anticipated escalation by some farmers, disclosing that a campaign of intimidation and pressure has targeted his ministry. (Al Diyar, An Nahar, February 12, 2020)

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