Lebanon Businessnews News

Agriculture exports surge
Lower prices limit farmers’ profits
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Agricultural exports increased by about five percent to 192,000 tons in the first half of 2013, compared with the same period of 2012.

Antoine Howayek, President of the Lebanese Farmers’ Association, said: “This increase is not a healthy indicator for the agricultural sector, because some exports increased while others decreased.”

Exports were also 14 percent lower than in the same period of 2010, according to the Association. “The year 2010 is a reference for us, because it was the last year before the crisis,” said Howayek.

Apple exports reached 43,500 tons, up by 31 percent compared to the same period of 2010. Howayek said farmers did not benefit from these exports because traders monopolized the crop and bought apples at low prices (between $8 and $9 per box). “The margin of profits for farmers was too low.”

Shortages in potato production in neighboring countries led to higher demand on local produce. Exports increased by about 28 percent compared to 2010, and reached 31,500 tons.

Citrus exports reached 54,500 tons, down by 37 percent compared to end-June 2010. The Lebanese Farmers’ Association attributed this to higher shipment costs due to the disruption of land trading routes in Syria.

Banana exports were down by 33 percent compared to 2010, totaling 33,800 tons. This decline was due to a decrease in consumption in the Syrian market.
Reported by Rania Ghanem
Date Posted: Sep 11, 2013
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