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Agricultural losses since closure of Syrian borders


Losses in agricultural exports since the closure of the land crossings between Lebanon and Syria reached nearly USD 300 million. This was sparked by the Lebanese authorities’ refusal to buy 4 container ships to transport without charge the trucks destined to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, according to the annual report published last week by the Farmers’ Association. The report indicated that agricultural exports, which remain hard hit by the closure of the Nassib Crossing, have stabilized at 350,000 tons per year compared to 530,000 tons before the closure. Exports recorded 353,000 tons in the year 2017 with a 2% decline from 2016 and 34% decline from 2014, the report said. In terms of sectors, banana exports posted in 2017 a 40.5% drop from 2016, while potato exports dropped by 6%, the report added. On the other hand, the agriculture minister and FAO disclosed the results of the first phase of the farmers’ registry launched back in January, 2017, noting that some 500 farmers and fisherfolks in Akkar and Baalbek-Hermel districts have participated in the pilot phase. The registry contains information on the socio-economic status of farmers and fishers that can be used by the government to develop adequate support programs. The FAO pointed out that while agriculture contributes to 5% of the GDP in Lebanon, yet it remains sidelined in the national economic policies. (L’Orient Le Jour, February 19, 20, 2018)

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