Lebanon Businessnews News

Agricultural exports drop
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Agricultural exports decreased by three percent in 2014, registering $233 million compared to $240 million in 2013, according to Custom statistics.

Exports of vegetables reached $207 million, decreasing by four percent last year compared to 2013. Ibrahim Tarchichi, Head of the Association of Bekaa Farmers, said: “The main reason behind this decrease is that the fruit and vegetable seasons weren’t productive last year.” He said that the bad weather, cold and the drop in rainfall impacted the harvests negatively.

The harvests produced 50 percent less compared to previous years. The quantities of fruits like cherries, apricots and peaches were very limited. This caused the prices to increase. The price of one kilogram of cherries, for instance, reached $5 due to the low production. Tarchichi said that water shortage led to a decrease in the areas cultivated.

Exported produce included mainly bananas, apples, grapes, potatoes, and onions. “The prices of potatoes were very low globally. This was due to competition from the European markets and the ban imposed on it from Russia,” said Tarchichi.

According to Tarchichi, the unstable situation in the regional markets led to an increase in transportation fees, which reduced the overall amounts exported.

Exports of live animal products increased by four percent, and reached $26 million last year, compared to $25 million in 2013. Rafik Khoury, Marketing Manager of Dairy Koury, said: “Exports to the Arab countries, mainly to Iraq, increased.” He said that this was due to the good quality of his products, as well as the competitive prices. Dairy Khoury raised production by 20 percent to meet the increased demand in the local and regional markets.

Imports of live animal products increased from $891 million in 2013 to $1.1 billion in 2014. Imports of vegetables increased from $923 million in 2013 to $966 million last year. “This increase in imports was mainly due to the presence of Syrian refugees,” said Khoury.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
Date Posted: Feb 10, 2015
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