Syria lifts ban on Lebanese bananas, potatoes

Syrian authorities finally allowed trucks to carry Lebanese potatoes and bananas into Syria Tuesday after prohibiting the entry of Lebanon’s agricultural produce.

Dozens of trucks laden with potatoes and bananas were stranded along Lebanese-Syrian crossing points for many days after Damascus banned their entry.

A number of farmers in Lebanon told news agencies that influential Lebanese groups close to Syrian authorities persuaded Damascus to lift the ban on locally produced potatoes and bananas.

The head of the Bekaa Farmers Association Ibrahaim Tarshishi told the Central News agency that Lebanese agricultural exports to Syria have dropped by 60 percent this year compared to the same period of 2013.

He added that in the past, Lebanon used to export 25,000 tons of agricultural produce to Syria while the latter used to export 10,000 tons in the other direction.

The raging war in Syria has had a devastating impact on the agricultural sector in the country, forcing the government to seek the import of all its needs from neighboring countries.

As a result of this war, the prices of Syrian potatoes, which used to be the cheapest in the region, skyrocketed to alarming levels and beyond the means of ordinary citizens.

Tarshishi stressed that the prices of Lebanese potatoes are now much cheaper than Syrian ones, and for this reason Damascus is keen to buy the produce from Lebanon.


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