Lebanon Businessnews News

Abundant grape crop looking for markets
Farmers call for State support
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Local grape farmers are calling for protecting the sector from competition from cheaper imports. Alfred Nassif, president of the Grape Growers Association, said: “The sector suffers from lack of state support, as well as natural adversities, and competition which threatens marketability of our produce.”

Tony Tohmeh, vice president of the Lebanese Farmers’ Association, said there is no crisis in the grape season this year: “The price of a kilo of grapes ranges from LL 1,500 to LL 4,000. If there was a real crisis, prices would have come down.”

Tohmeh said that last year crops were damaged due to harsh weather conditions. “This was not the case this year and farmers are afraid that it will be hard to sell their produce because the season was abundant,” he said.

“I do not believe the farmers will have difficulties in selling their produce because the routes to Gulf countries are still open,” said Tohmeh.

Rhea Semaan, commercial delegate at Chateau Kefraya said: “Wineries could buy grapes from farmers, as long as the crops are not irrigated and do not contain harmful pesticides.” However, she said, not all grapes could be used for wine making.

“Chateau Kefraya’s policy only allows us to buy grapes from Kefraya (village),” Semaan said. But, she said, there are some 42 registered wineries on the local market.

Lebanon produces some 40,000 tons of grapes per year.

Reported by Rania Ghanem
Date Posted: Sep 26, 2012
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