Smart farming to
push agricultural exports
High value crops
will reach new markets
Agriculture has the potential to become an export-oriented sector once automated systems and new technologies are adopted by local farmers, according to the 2020 Agriculture Factbook recently published by the Investment Development Authority in Lebanon (IDAL).
Increasing the production of high-value crops while focusing on reaching countries that are investing in importing these types of produce is key for Lebanese farmers.
Strawberries tomatoes, avocados, and almonds are among such crops as well as livestock. The price of some of these crops reaches $2,000 per ton.
The report also identified a list of agricultural products with untapped potential, along with their respective unexploited markets. Top prospective export-oriented products include apples, wheat and meslin flour, cabbage, lettuce, peaches, nectarines, pears, and quinces.
The use of advanced technology such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, and ‘Internet of Things’ will enhance the productivity and quality of crops. These technical solutions, which include drones and robotics, are transforming the agriculture value chain into smart farming.
“The local labor force has the potential to make the shift from the traditional agriculture into the agricultural digital revolution,” said the report.
The country also has the highest proportion of agricultural land in the Middle East with 64 percent of total land area in 2017, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Agricultural exports reached $193 million in 2019, a seven percent decrease compared to the 2014 figures, mainly due to the closure of the borders with Syria.
Arab countries had the highest share (87 percent) of the 2019 exports. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Syria were the top three destinations.
Reported by Gisele Khalaf
Date Posted: Apr 02, 2020