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Potato, apples and poultry farmers lament unchecked imports


President Michel Aoun maintained on January 25th that the agricultural sector in Lebanon is a vital one, while criticising over dependance on tourism and other service sectors, adding that instability in Lebanon, has negatively affected the tourism and service sectors. Furthermore, he went on saying that nearly 20% of the Lebanese population entirely rely on agriculture for livelihood, while a similar percentage is partially dependent on that sector. 
Agriculture in Lebanon, to recap, faces many challenges notably: foreign competition, the closure of borders, difficulty in exporting and poor government support. Regarding potato, the head of the Cooperative Association of Potato Farmers in Akkar, on January 27, appealed to concerned authorities to limit or clearly determine the amount of potatoes imported from Egypt, in an attempt to salvage the local harvest in Akkar, lamenting the illegal entry of the crop from neighboring Syria. In the poultry sector, MP Hadi Abul Hosn, demanded protection of the poultry producers, including monitoring the importation of frozen or smuggled chicken, stating that around 25 thousand households working in the sector have been harmed as a result. Meanwhile, the minister of agriculture, Hussein Haj Hassan, pressed for the protection of dairy producers through introducing so-called customs protection system to regulate the import of powdered milk, cheeses and fresh milk. As for apple growing, Bsherreh apple growers has recently complained from continued illegal dumping of foreign products. To this end, MP Joseph Isaac on January 25, discussed with the Customs Chief, Badri Daher, the control of the amounts of Syrian and Turkish apples sneaked illicitly into the country in order to allow farmers to market their produce hoarded in cold storage. (Al Mustaqbal, Al Diyar, January 26, 27, 28, 2019)

Previous related news:
McKinsey Plan for Lebanon: endorse agriculture, legalize cannabis
President Aoun promises to work on reopening border crossings for Lebanese exports
Farmers' misfortunes: Blocked borders, unfair competition, unpaid compensations
Agriculture in Lebanon has yet to receive the due public attention
Agriculture in Lebanon not doing well
Crisis of agriculture to continue amidst government’s indifference
Crisis of marketing crops versus government’s disability

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