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A slump in the prices of potatoes from the Beqaa whilst production rises by 25%


Exports of potatoes has declined considerably this year especially through the land route as hardly 5 trucks cross the Syrian borders daily compared to an earlier record of 20 daily trucks filled with tons of potatoes. Simultaneously, the production of potatoes in the Beqaa region increased by 25% compared to last year and that is according to a report published by As Safir in its issue of last Friday.
According to the president of the union of potato farmers in Bekaa, Georges Sakr, the price of one kilogram of potatoes does not exceed LBP 400 with production hitting this year 350,000 tons (compared to 200,000 tons last year).  Sakr notes that initially import of potato seeds of should not have exceeded 20,000 tons but have exceeded 40,000 tons this year which significantly raised the potato growing areas to 120,000 dunums compared to 100,000 dunums normally, thus largely exceeding internal and external demands. Furthermore, Sakr noted that the decline in the price of potatoes is in line with similar declines recorded in the other countries of the region which also witnessed a significant surge in production. However, Lebanese farmers had to bear the brunt of higher production costs this season making this year potato harvest the most expensive agricultural season in the region. Indeed, the cost of irrigation of one dunnum went up from USD 100 to USD 300 due to the rise of the cost of fuel oil and because of low rainfalls and ground water supply.
Source: Al-Diyar 21 July 2014

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