Toiling Lebanese govt attempts to alleviate wheat struggles

During a dire economic period in Lebanon, the Ministry of Agriculture will launch a nationwide campaign which will hand out soft wheat to farmers, according to Lebanese news outlet Kataeb, January 17.

The Minister of Agriculture, Abbas Hajj Hassan hailed the move as an efficient way of tackling the country’s food security problem amongst other lack of general resources. 

For the necessary amount of bread to be made in Lebanon, the country has been heavily reliant on imports especially from Russia however the country’s two-year long invasion of Ukraine has taken its toll on wheat imports in Lebanon and worldwide as a whole amidst an array of sanctions on the global superpower. 

Prior to the invasion, the main products exported from Russia into Lebanon were refined petroleum, wheat, and seed oils.

READ: US pays Lebanese army’s salaries for an extra month

Hassan said that the campaign will be implemented sooner than expected as the number one priority is ensuring full localisation of the soft wheat needed to produce flour for bread making. 

The ministry’s plan relies on already-agreed partnerships with donor agencies and international organisations of which include the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Program (WFP), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). 

Despite having the highest amount of arable land in the region with more than 200,000 hectares, Lebanon’s own agricultural sector has gone underfunded and underdeveloped for numerous years, hampered by a lack of modern equipment and inefficient production methods.

52-year-old farmer Melhem Melhem’s struggles perfectly emphasises the uphill battle the agricultural sector is facing. Based at the Beqqa Valley, a fertile valley in the country’s east, the farmer cultivates as well as selling fruits and vegetables but has noted that his business is walking towards a slow and painful death due to the dire state of the economy. 

Melhem said, “I buy seeds, pesticides and fertilizers with (US) dollars, but I sell my products in Lebanese pounds, so I don’t make any profit.” 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

[mc4wp_form id="206"]