BEIRUT — The Golden Bird ship arrived at the Port of Tripoli this morning from Bardiast port in Ukraine carrying a cargo of 11,000 tons of wheat that is now in the process of being unloaded, the state-run National News Agency reported Tuesday.
Here’s what we know:
• The shipment arrives amid mounting concerns over the security of Lebanon’s grain supply given disruptions in international grain supply chains following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last month. Lebanon imports 60 percent of its grain needs for bread manufacturing from Ukraine, Russia and Romania.
• Tripoli port manager Ahmad Tamer said Tuesday that another wheat shipment from Ukraine is expected, explaining: “The Princess Mariam, which had unloaded its cargo of wheat in the Tripoli port last week, went to Ukraine and will return to the port after loading its wards with wheat.”
• On Monday Industry Minister Georges Bouchikian said that Banque du Liban had opened lines of credit to import wheat, adding that “the available stock [presently in the country] is enough for a month and a half.” According to the minister, efforts are underway to “implement a strategic plan to begin a period of [wheat] rationing.”
• Lebanon has been faced by a socioeconomic crisis affecting people’s living conditions and the country’s food security since late 2019. Food costs soared by 222 percent in the first half of 2021, and the poverty rate increased to 78 percent last year, with 36 percent living in extreme poverty, according to a UN study.
• A review published Monday by the World Food Program states that last year 54 percent of the Lebanese population was vulnerable and 46 percent were food insecure. It adds that among refugees living in the country, 88 percent are extremely poor and 50 percent are food insecure.