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Local farmers still awaiting their entitlements


A group of tobacco and tombac growers staged a sit-in in Baalbek yesterday to protest what they called official procrastination in paying off their entitlements, and the slowness of the payment process since out of a total of some 2000 farmers, only 20 to 30 farmers receive their dues every day. Tobacco farmers in the Beqaa region, it should be recalled, have decided to raise prices by 1% and up in anticipation of the ratification by the new government of the long sought for salary scale. Nevertheless, while state-controlled Regie Libanaise Des Tabacs Et Tombacs did not yet do the same. On the other hand, the minister of trade and economy, Raed Khoury, pledged that as of next Monday, his ministry will release the first batch of payment to farmers in the Beqaa area, (each batch is allotted to some 75 farmers) . The second batch will be assigned to the North and South regions, he explained, saying the value of compensation is nearly LBP 120 thousand per dunum. Khoury was speaking following a meeting on Friday with the director general of the Cereals and Sugar Beets Directorate, Hanna Amil, to discuss the demands of wheat farmers. Apple growers, for their part, are still in wait-and-see mode, as they have not received compensation for some 8 million crates, and they are planning a visit to PM Saad Hariri in order to follow up on to the decision by former government to pay LBP 5000 in compensation per each apple crate. (Al Diyar, March 11 and 14. 2017)


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