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ECONOMIC CRISIS

Research group report points to "sharp and dangerous decline" in Lebanon's agricultural production

Research group report points to

Farm workers in Lebanon's Bekaa valley, an agricultural hub for the country. (Credit: João Sousa/L'Orient Today)

BEIRUT — Lebanese agricultural production saw a “sharp and dangerous decline” in 2020, a newly released report by the Lebanese Center for Research and Agricultural Studies (CREAL) found.

Here’s what we know:

• The value of agricultural production for fruit and vegetable crops was $736.9 million in 2020 compared to $1.1 billion in 2019, a 33% decline, the report found. The value of animal products such as meat and milk was $696.1 million in 2020 compared to $815.9 million in 2019, a 14% decrease.

• The report noted that the plummeting Lebanese currency has resulted in a situation in which already-indebted farmers are unable to access credit to buy farming inputs, and as a result, have cut back on planting, while successive bad crop seasons also cut into their ability to pay back debts. As of October 2019, farmers’ debts to retailers totalled about $80 million while retailers’ debts to banks and to importers stood at about $60 million, the report said.

• “Farmers ... were not able to repay the retailers, while the retailers were not able to repay the importers who, in turn, were not able to meet their obligations to banks and foreign suppliers,” the report noted. “As a result, the private sector financing system of the Lebanese agriculture collapsed, the agricultural credit chain was interrupted, and farmers were deprived of credit.”

• Farmers have also been suffering from the effects of the Saudi ban on Lebanese produce, as L’Orient Today previously reported.

• “Until a fixed foreign currency policy is determined by the monetary authorities, which allows importing supplies in the right conditions, and exporting Lebanese agricultural products in a way that achieves the best returns, and until the market of domestic input trade and of wholesale agricultural products is following an equitable system to all operators, the Lebanese agricultural sector shall experience a decrease in the volume of produced crops, a deterioration of crop quality … [and] a decrease in farmer’s revenues,” the report noted, adding that the situation might lead to “the increase of social unrest in the rural community and more rural exodus towards the misery belts around the Lebanese cities.”


BEIRUT — Lebanese agricultural production saw a “sharp and dangerous decline” in 2020, a newly released report by the Lebanese Center for Research and Agricultural Studies (CREAL) found. Here’s what we know: • The value of agricultural production for fruit and vegetable crops was $736.9 million in 2020 compared to $1.1 billion in 2019, a 33% decline, the report found. The value of...