The prices of fruits and vegetables are expensive... Farmers are threatening to damage production

The prices of fruits and vegetables are expensive... Farmers are threatening to damage production

| Monday 20 June 2022

Rania Chakhtoura, “Akhbar al-Yawm” agency

Al-Tarshishi talks about the reasons for obstructing exports and rising costs

The prices of vegetables and fruits are expensive: There is no variety of vegetables and fruits, less than thirty thousand per kilogram, as for the prices of seasonal fruits, they exceed 70 thousand.

Farmers are looming to throw their production... However, farmers have an objection that goes beyond prices, as the production is besieged in front of agricultural centers in the port of Beirut and border crossings, due to the strike of open public sector employees, which led to preventing the export of thousands of tons of Lebanese fruits and vegetables, and the additional delay will lead to their damage, and prevent the introduction of hard currency into the country, which constitutes catastrophic repercussions on farms that have been suffering since before the collapse in 2019.

Ibrahim al-Tarshishi, head of the farmers and peasants Association, explains via the "Akhbar al-Yawm" agency that what we are suffering from now is not new, but rather things have worsened for consecutive times. He says: Lebanese production is delayed at the airport and at the border crossings from al-Masnaa to al-Aboudiyeh and at the port, and the strike came to make things worse, adding: We sounded the alarm more than once and warned against continuing to damage production at those facilities, but no one responded.

Al-Tarshishi stresses that the agricultural sector cannot withstand a strike in the public administration that lasts for 20 days, while production must reach the country of import and be consumed before this period, and continues: today we are at the peak of the season, and the losses will be very large, for example, the cherry season lasts for less than a month, and if there is no export capacity, leaving fruits on trees may be less expensive than picking, packing and transportation...

Here, al-Tarshishi draws attention to the fact that production is more than the need for consumption of the local market, because there is a section of it dedicated to export, and there is no market for it at home.

Al-Tarshishi explains that prices at the local level are linked to rising production costs from seeds to fertilizers, in addition to fuel prices, which automatically leads to higher transportation cost, saying: For the first time in the history of Lebanese agriculture, the price of a can of carburant reaches this level, so how can the sector withstand and continue?! Adding: all this makes the cost more than the citizen's ability to buy tens of times. On top of all this came the strike of employees in the public sector, knowing that the export of agricultural production requires 3 or 4 employees to work two hours - out of the long and wide apparatus of the Ministry of Agriculture - in order to manage export Affairs.

He says: employees appreciate our situation, they are deprived and do not have their rights, and we are not against them or against their demands, but injustice should not lead to another injustice and to the destruction of the sector, as public utilities must remain in place in order to manage things that do not wait.

About the possibility of a quick solution, al-Tarshishi reveals after a series of contacts with the Ministry of agriculture, "we received a promise to manage things today in order to avoid the worst".

It concludes: the blame is not on the employee, but on the state.

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