Fodder subsidy plan ready to launch
The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) has recently kicked off the arrangements for activating a five-year plan to promote fodder cultivation. The plan, which aims to develop the cultivation of animal fodder and thus improve the cattle raising sector, entails offering a subsidy of LL50,000 ($33.3) for each donum of fodder grown (1 donum makes around 1,000 square meters).
Earlier this year the Cabinet had allocated $19 million to partially finance the plan. According to the MoA, the number of applications from fodder farmers has already reached 103 for a total area of 3,200 donnums. The ministry said there is no ceiling for the number of applications it will accept, or for the subsidies that will be granted. It called for stimulating the fodder cultivation sector in Hermel, Baalbek, Deir al-Ahmar, and Majdaloun.
The subsidy plan, approved by the Cabinet in 2011, has a total budget of around $120 million. The plan’s end objective is to improve the quantity and quality of milk, raising the levels of proteins, fibers, and calcium in the produce.
Nearly 630 milking machines were installed in Bekaa and Akkar. The ministry plans to purchase another 350 machines to be distributed in other regions. According to the MoA, the number of cattle raisers increased since August 2012 from 5,400 to 8,800. This number is distributed all over the country.
Yearly imports of dairy products total around $200 million. According to MoA estimates, there are around 40,000 milking cows in the country.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Dec 10, 2012