Lebanon Businessnews News

Bekaa agro sector
piercing new markets
Growers and manufacturers

succeeding despite land border closures

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A report by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture in Zahle and the Bekaa, showed that olive oil exports improved in 2015 by 14 percent compared to the year before. Bekaa olive oil plants exported products worth $2.2 million.

Youssef Geha, Director General of the Chamber, said: “More containers are being sent to Canada, the United States, and Kuwait.” Grapes were also exported to several countries, such as Germany, the United Kingdom, and Ethiopia. “Grapes are sold for a pound more in the U.K., because of their high quality,” he said.

Farmers also started to export to Nigeria and Ethiopia last year and are returning gradually to Libya. Farmers exported a diversity of products to Nigeria, including grapes, corn flakes, canned foods, and pickles. “Although the value of exports is still low, we are testing the market and the results look promising,” he said. “We are also promoting exports to Indonesia, a country of over 250 million people, especially for agricultural products,” he said.

Egypt beat Syria for the second place as an importer of Bekaa products. Around $42 million worth of agricultural and industrial products have been sent to Egypt, achieving an 18 percent growth. Agricultural products, mainly fruits like peaches, are being exported. “We have also successfully been able to export plastics, an industry that is already largely available there,” Geha said. Saudi Arabia came in first place as import country.

“Expanding our presence in Arab markets and tapping new ones is succeeding because the audience in these countries is starting to become accustomed to Lebanese products and is comparing them with what exists there,” Geha said.

Most other products have suffered from the border closure and in total the value of Bekaa exports dropped by 29 percent from their 2014 level to $241 million.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Mar 30, 2016
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