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Lebanese farmers demand preferential treatment to domestic products

12-11-2019

After the head of the Gathering of Beqaa Farmers, Ibrahim Tarshishi, warned last week of the huge losses inflicting agriculture and the respective slump in exports (https://bit.ly/2QbjinM), the syndicate of exporters and importers of vegetables and fruits in Lebanon threatened yesterday to take to the streets and block roads to prevent the entry of imported agricultural goods. The syndicate appealed to the agriculture ministry to immediately halt the release of import licenses on the basis of reciprocity with countries banning the import of made-in-Lebanon products into their markets. Tarshishi issued the above warning during a meeting in Riyaq, Beqaa, and called for the following: the suspension of import of agricultural products from all countries for a period of 6 months, notwithstanding the effective licenses; termination of all import permits as of today, Tuesday, and cancelling the importation of any agricultural product from any country which does not observe reciprocity. “We cannot export our production to the majority of countries we import from, specifically, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Turkey,” Tarshishi said. He deplored the hard luck of Lebanese farmers and the ill-treatment on the part of the banking institutions, as well as the stubborn recklessness by the ministry of agriculture to this end. He gave the ministry and the banks one-week ultimatum to stop importation and to resolve the impasse of buying dollars in order to compensate the purchase of seeds, fertilizers and fuel farmers need. Tarshshi finally threatened to take to the streets as of next week in case of failure to respond, concluding, “Enough negligence and exploitation of our rights… give priority to the Lebanese products and to our land produce.”. (Al Diyar, November 12, 2019)

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