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Livestock farmers in Hermel, beekeepers of Upper Metn demand end to foreign competition

13-2-2019

The anguish of Lebanese farmers continues as a result of the State’s slackness in helping them market their produce and end the fierce foreign competition. In its issue of today, An Nahar newspaper wrote that, due to the harsh economic conditions, Beqaa-Hermel livestock farmers are selling some of the cattle they depend on for their living to feed the remaining cattle. The main hitch or challenge is their inability to dispose of or market the fresh milk produced daily by scores of cows they breed on their farms. Cattle breeders, the newspaper said, are left with two bitter choices: either to sell milk at slash prices or sell the cattle to alleviate financial costs from accumulated debts. On the subject, the secretary of the agricultural unions in Lebanon, Ali Shuman, attributed the direct factors contributing to the slumping milk prices to the large amounts of imported milk powder entering Lebanon (13,000 tons in 2018 as compared to only 4,000 tons in the past). In addition, to licensing the entry of some 40,000 imported cheese packs, as well as smuggled made-in-Syria dairy products. On the other hand, a delegation from the Association of Beekeepers of Upper Metn visited on January 11 the member of the Democratic Gathering, MP Hadi Abul Hosn, to discuss problems facing the sector. Some of these problems are: imported bees, competition, lack of specialization, shrinking prairies, absence of agricultural extension and the arbitrary and unorganized import and use of toxic pesticides. The delegation asked Abul Hosn to work to develop a law that bans the importation of bees, apply taxes on imported honey, ban the import of toxic agricultural insecticides, promote and encourage the cultivation of aromatic crops and construct roads in the oak lands and forests to help in the provision. of spaces for bee colonies and to facilitate the extinguishing of fires. (An Nahar, L’Orient Le Jour, February 12, 13, 2019)

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