Lebanon’s markets have seen prices of goods spiraling amid a shortage of some foodstuffs. We might be on the brink of losing our ability to get large quantities of commodities, so is our food security at risk now?
This question was asked by Mahasen Morsel, a correspondent for Sawt Beirut International, to Hani Bohsali, president of the Syndicate of Importers of Foodstuffs, Consumer Products and Drinks.
“The real problem is caused by the political crisis which has resulted in a scarcity of the U.S. dollar and its high exchange rate,” Bohsali said, adding “we’re still talking about high prices since the crisis began in 2019.”
“Even if the goods were manufactured locally, they still need foreign raw materials that need to be imported, which means that all prices are linked to the exchange rate.”
“When we say that half of the Lebanese people are now below the poverty line, we actually have tangible evidence on the ground for that,” he said, noting that “prices have increased unlike the people’s income, and the higher the U.S. dollar exchange rate, the worse the crisis.”
“Despite the U.S. dollar growing scarce, the goods do exist, but when its exchange rate exceeded 6,000 pounds, we starting asking ourselves: how could it be beneficial to us if we purchase commodities and place them on the shelves without the citizen being able to purchase them?”
According to some indicators, the worst is yet to come. Do officials still have a living conscience that would prompt them to stop this economic collapse?