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Difficulties in marketing of West Beqaa potato

8-8-2017

The difficulty in marketing of potatoes grown in the plains of West Beqaa and Rashaya continues as a result of the forced closure of the Syrian borders and the high cost of the maritime shipping of agricultural products, Al Mustaqbal newspaper wrote today. In this respect, the head of the potato farmers syndicate in Beqaa, George Sakr, stated that the problem is local, regional and global crisis. This season’s produce is excellent with a recorded 20% increase against past years, Sakr said, but export outlets are diminishing, particularly to GCC markets. Notwithstanding the limited support to exports, the cost of sea exports is relatively high, Sakr noted, pointing to sluggish local consumption and low prices. The cost of one dunnum of potato stands between USD 800 to 900 against a selling price of just about USD 800. Sakr appealed to the Council of Ministers and the ministry of agriculture to increase their financial support to potato cultivation (from LBP 50 to LBP 80), in order to help local growers compete in GCC countries. Furthermore, Sakr revealed that Lebanon produces more than 900 thousand tons of potatoes, 380 thousand tons in the Beqaa alone, adding that 90 thousand tons are processed domestically. The remaining quantity, he said, is marketed locally, with limited daily level of exports that barely exceeds one thousand tons that are shipped through ferries and vessels. (AL Mustaqbal, August 7, 2017)

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