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Ministerial plan to compensate farmers, tobacco growers’ loose because of USD hike


The minister of agriculture, Abbas Mortada, discussed his ministry’s agricultural policy during a consultative meeting on June 9 for the agri-food public departments and institutions. Mortada outlined the vision of the support strategy needed to alleviate the anguish of farmers and provide agricultural inputs subsidized in hard currency by Banque du Liban. In this respect, the member of the Liberation and Development Bloc, MP Qassem Hashem, during a tour on farmers and cultivated lands in the Marie and Wazzani areas in the South, demanded more attention to agriculture, specifically in the borderline villages. He stressed the need to develop a clear-cut plan to facilitate the transition from a rentier to a productive economy, provide financial and technical assistance, compensate farmers after the heavy losses they suffered due to the skyrocketing prices of fertilizers and nutrients, the slump of produce and their inability to pay their loans and debts. Meanwhile, Al Akhbar reported on June 6 that the USD hike has hit tobacco growers twice to date. On the one hand, the rise in the prices of agricultural raw material has caused a swift slump of the harvest after more than half the value of the yield dropped as a result of currency fluctuation. On the other hand, the restrictive banks’ policies led to the installment of farmers’ entitlements deposited last year in these banks by the Regie, not to mention the banks’ decision this year to deprive farmers of the ‘privilege’ of so-called ‘mortgage license’. (Al Akhbar, Al Diyar, June 6, 7, 10, 2020)

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