News / Middle East

Syria Crisis Hurts Lebanese Farmers

Syria Crisis Hurts Lebanese Farmersi
|| 0:00:00
X
Margaret Besheer
August 01, 2012 5:30 PM
The 17-month long conflict in Syria has harmed neighboring Lebanon's agriculture sector, which employs about 15 percent of the population. VOA's Margaret Besheer reports from Lebanon's Bekaa Valley that with nearly 80 percent of Lebanon's exports passing through Syria, recent closings of the main border crossing to commercial traffic have Lebanon's farmers fearful that, if the conflict continues, their livelihoods will be devastated.
Margaret Besheer
BEKAA VALLEY, Lebanon — The 17-month long conflict in Syria has harmed neighboring Lebanon's agriculture sector, which employs about 15 percent of the population.  And with nearly 80 percent of Lebanon's exports passing through Syria, recent closings of the main border crossing to commercial traffic have Lebanon's farmers fearful that, if the conflict continues, their livelihoods will be devastated.

In the Bekaa Valley, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables are grown for domestic consumption and export to Jordan, Egypt and the Gulf countries.

But as the conflict in Syria intensifies, Antoine Howayek, the president of Lebanon's Farmers' Association, said farmers here are having trouble getting their produce to these markets over land.

"Last week they closed the border for five days; 270 trucks were unable to pass from Lebanon to Syria. When the situation was calm they tried to pass, but they were hit by gunfire and they had accidents," said Howayek.

Howayek said that for each day the main border crossing is closed, trucks carrying 1,500 tons of agricultural products are not able to transit to the Gulf countries, costing Lebanese producers between $1 million and $2 million daily.

The Farmers' Association is urging the government to create and fund a maritime route providing at least two ferries a week for farmers to ship their goods from Beirut to Egypt or Jordan - bypassing Syria.

"The situation in Syria might continue long-term and the agriculture sector and the economy cannot be hostage to it. The government should create alternate routes, and there is no reason why they should not act," said Howayek.

At the Ghandour Refrigeration plant in the Bekaa town of Anjar, supervisor Mohammed Qurani said he used to export four giant freezers full of potatoes through Syria each day. Now, he said, he cannot.

"Now we have to export through the sea, if we can, and it will be so difficult, because it is very expensive, and we will lose money. Costs will be more than profits," said Qurani.

Lebanon's minister of agriculture recently said he is considering a maritime route, but that it should be part of expanding the farming sector overall, not just as a response to the current security situation in Syria.

In the meantime, Lebanon's farmers worry, and hope the situation returns to normal soon so their harvests will not be wasted and their livelihoods jeopardized.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid