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Prospects for agriculture: no clear strategy, protection recommendations


Prime Minister Saad Hariri said yesterday that the state is not doing enough for agriculture, adding, the main glitch is in the archaic agricultural policy and the absence of a clear strategy, adding that smuggling constitutes a real problem. The government, he stressed, has developed plans to revive the sector through projects approved by CEDRE. Hariri was speaking during the opening of the Agriculture Development Conference ( organized by the agriculture ministry and attended by 400 participants, including representatives of around 76 agricultural coops and 27 agricultural unions. On the occasion, the Deputy CEO of Al Ikisad Wal Aamal Group, Faisal Abu Zaki pointed out that due to the degeneration in the productive sectors and in export activity, Lebanon is experiencing huge deficits in the trade and payment balances. He emphasized the need to revive the agricultural economy and create incentives to attract investments to this effect. For his part, the president of the Federation of Chambers in Lebanon, minister Mohamad Shukeir, proposed the formation of a permanent committee under the auspices of the ministry of agriculture to follow up the implementation of recommendations in coordination with all concerned parties. In his turn, the minister of economy, Mansour Bteish, warned, no growth or prosperity without the revitalization of agriculture, industry and tourism. Commenting on the legalization of the cultivation of cannabis endorsed by the McKinsey Plan, Bteish said this can only be resolved through political compromise. Similarly, the minister of industry, Wael Abu Faour, maintained that the economic status quo in the country has once again proved that reliance on the rentier and services sectors did not bring about prosperity. Abou Faour suggested several provisos that could remedy the situation and which are based on sustaining and providing protection for the domestic productive pillars, as well as reassessing the Arab Facilitation Agreement or the agreements signed with the EU in this regard. Finally, Hassan Lakiss, the minister of agriculture, hoped the conference will come up with bold sanctions that will motivate agriculture and strengthen partnership between the private and public sectors. (Al Diyar, September 25, 2019)

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