The decision was announced by Minister of Agriculture Hussein Al Hajj Hassan after meeting with Minister of Finance, Raya Haffar.
Al Hajj Hassan who did not disclose numbers said “the Ministry’s budget proposal will be submitted next week.” In the 2009 budget, only $7 million were allocated to the Ministry of Agricuture.
The 2010 Budget proposal will be later discussed by the government. It will also be pending an approval from the Parliament.
Representatives of various agricultural Syndicates interviewed by Businessnews welcomed the news. They were all optimistic that once approved "the decision will help implement many of the long awaited projects.”
Ibrahim A-Tarshishi, who is the head of the Farmers Union, praised the decision.
“Following this decision, much needed projects which were put on hold due to lack of funding problem, could be implemented now,” he said.
Tarshishi, who headed a delegation which recently visited the Minister, said that Al Hajj Hassan who was opened to all demands”was skeptical about his ability to implement them in the absence of funding.”
Tarshishi said that the Union’s main demand is “the establishment of new quality control laboratories. He said that such laboratories will “improve product surveillance and restore trust in national products.”
Tarshishi said that “security control on the Syrian border should be improved to control smuggling.”
Agricultural exports, according to Tarshishi, dropped to 450,000 tons in 2009, from 525,000 tons in 2008. He said this means “we should act quickly to save national production.”
Khaled Khatib, General Manager of the Syndicate of Food and Beverage Importers, said that the increase in budget "could help implementing many of the proposals which were carried by the Syndicate to the minister this week."
Khatib stressed the need to establish a new quality control laboratory in the Port.“Such a laboratory can help reduce traffic, and improve detection of the quality of products." he said.
Khatib said that the cost of the project is not determined yet but “once approved by the Ministry, all necessary studies will be completed."
Khatib said that the Syndicate also asked the Minister to unify the tax on products to reduce forgery and ease prices of commodities. He said that taxes on commodities vary vastly from five to 70 percent.