Wednesday, 13 February 2008


Lebanon Food Drink Report paints a bleak picture of structural problems in the agricultural industry:

Much of 2006's harvest was left to rot in the fields, as the bombing campaign forced farmers to abandon their crops. It was near impossible to transport what has been harvested due to the extensive road damage.

This coincided with the peak harvest time for export crops such as fruits and potatoes, therefore robbing many farmers of an important source of income. The presence of tens of thousands of unexploded cluster bombs meant that many farmers have been too scared to enter their fields, particularly after a series of deaths and maimings from these bombs.

Agriculture accounts for almost 70% of total household income in southern Lebanon, and according to the FAO estimates, 25% of cultivated land in the south has been rendered useless until the unexploded bombs can be removed.

Due to this lack of income, many farmers have fallen into debt.

Despite the fact that the agro-food industry employs 25% of Lebanons private-sector wage earners, the industry suffers from a chronic dearth of qualified labour.

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