Euro-Mediterranean Information System on know-how in the Water sector
International portal

News Lebanese watermelon farmers face pressure from imports

Watermelons growing in the southern fields are now ripe for the picking and the crop is beginning to appear widely in the markets, but farmers are not confident that the season will be a success.

While farmers have been expanding their watermelon crops in recent years along the coast from Adloun to Ras al-Naqoura and from Tyre’s coast up to the plains of Khiam and Marjayoun, this year’s crop is smaller.

Farmers scaled back their watermelon planting due to the high cost relative to other crops and even though it’s only been one week since the first greenhouse crop of Lebanese watermelons hit the markets, they are worried that the price is already dropping.

The summer harvest of watermelons remains 40 days off and farmers say they are depending on the government to make sure that Lebanon is closed off to watermelon imports from Jordan and Egypt in order to recover their expenses and make reasonable profits.

According to an agricultural calendar that the government uses to determine when to stop produce imports to protect Lebanese farmers and strengthen the demands for their produce, the import of watermelons should be ending now.

Taleb Daher, a farmer, says that farmers need the government to ensure there are no further imports.

“The season is still in the beginning and I hope that the prices stay at a reasonable level especially since the prices of pesticides and agricultural supplies have risen 30 percent since last year,” Daher added.

Agriculture engineer Hussein Sweidan says “the areas planted with watermelon along the coast have shrunk due to decrease in available fertile land, a result of people preferring to use the land for building projects, and also due to the high cost of renting, which has increased 20 percent since last year.”

But Sweidan defends the ability of Lebanese farmers to produce enough for the country.

“The Lebanese watermelons, which are mainly planted in the south and the Bekaa, meet the demands of the Lebanese market and there is no need to import from any state,” he says.

Contact information n/a
News type Inbrief
File link
Source of information The Daily Star - 06, Jun 2012
Geographical coverage Lebanon,
News date 14/06/2012
Working language(s) ENGLISH