| 20 April 2024, Saturday |

Farming sector is likely to face major catastrophe

Flour mills warn of halting production starting from today

The Mills Association in Lebanon appealed to the officials to secure the diesel fuel, otherwise mills may gradually halt production as of Wednesday, which may lead to a flour crisis. The association said that mills have not received the required quantities of diesel for ten days, despite the promises they received.

The agricultural season and exports are threatened

The agricultural season is threatened amid the increasing cost of fuels and agricultural supplies, along with the severe shortages in diesel fuel to operate refrigerators and preserve production.

Lifting subsidies on fuel, seeds, fertilizers, and fodder will negatively impact the agricultural crops in the coming year, as the majority of farmers will not be able to afford these commodities after being sold at the black market exchange rate.

This situation will oblige farmers to halt production and therefore reduce the cultivated areas. The supply of agricultural production will collapse while demand will grow.

As a result of this the prices of vegetables and fruits will soar dramatically because agricultural production will not be sufficient to cover local consumption, while the priority remains always for export, which secures foreign currency for farmers.

Subsidies on fuel will be completely lifted soon, and this will impact farming severely as fuel is a key factor in agricultural production, as it is utilized for irrigation, storage in refrigerators, and transportation to markets.

Farmers will be facing these hurdles in the coming days, and this has urged them to hold their demands to the Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi. Farmers called the state to secure diesel and fuel to operate the suspended apple refrigerators. They also called for supporting apple production, which is the backbone of Lebanese agriculture. Farmers also asked the state to collaborate with the Lebanese expatriates to market apples produce in the global markets, and to coordinate with the Gulf countries, Egypt and other Arab countries in order to open their markets to the Lebanese apples.

It is worth noting that the diesel outages will eliminate exports because the production cannot be exported at once in the local or foreign markets, but rather it must be preserved in the refrigerators to be marketed according to the market needs.

For these reasons, the agricultural sector is expected to face a major catastrophe mainly after harvesting the potatoes produce in the Bekaa region. Potatoes are usually stored in refrigerators to supply the market from now until March.

If diesel fuel was secured to operate the refrigerators, its high cost will reflect a significant increase in prices in the coming period for two reasons: the high cost of storage in the refrigerators and the decline in supply.

Therefore, Lebanese should get ready to purchasing vegetables and fruits at the black market exchange rate.

  • Sawt Beirut International