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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid