Agriculture

Current barriers to a profitable Lebanese agricultural sector

This thread was written by Mr. Avocado (@RizkCharbel) on March 17, 2020.

As promised thread Agriculture Lebanon.

Output is 3% of GDP, 0.5% of exports and employs 26% of labor force around 30% of land is used. McKinsey Report (2019), currently Lebanon has a neutral comparative advantage for the agricultural sector although a priority sector.

Focus on high-value crops, the comparative advantage could significantly be improved. 30% of agriculture land is exploited 5% of operators have less than 1 ha of useful agricultural surface.

Overuse of fertilizers & pesticides: 452 kg/ha vs. 131 kg/ha OECD countries.

Limited extension and research services. Poor controls on food safety & quality, and water usage. Limited modernization / technology adoption and structural constraints with persistence of sub-optimal techniques (harvest, post-harvest, etc.).

Productivity is very low. 4 tons max potato in 1000 m2 in Lebanon 10 in holland. High pesticide residues reduce capacity to export.
Limited access to financing and financial unsustainability. Rising land, transportation & storage costs. Land erosion and degradation

Our current production is not enough for local consumption and exports not worth mentioning. Plant production could suffice in the current financial blockage using organic/agriculture raisonnée. Livestock is very hard since it is imported with its feed and additives.

Goats could be a solution for meat if sanitary conditions for production are improved and respected. Goat meat is lean, low fat and healthy. Goat dairy products can be produced but sanitary issues need to be respected .

We have some export potential in Lebanese high end mouneh and agrofood but industrial agriculture is lagging behind and does not produce enough to supply agrofood. If strategic thinking is used in agriculture it can become a money maker.

Advantages are 40 microclimates, taste is still good compared to other countries with intensive agri, hummus et companie is highly praised as Lebanese cuisine and Mediterranean diet, currently loved globaly for health benefits. Agrofood export 600 million $ Fresh around 200 million $

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