Youssef Fayyad, mayor of the southern Lebanese town of Al-Mari, spoke about this year’s successful prickly pear season: “This year’s successful season will secure an acceptable return for hundreds of workers, who make up around 23 percent of the population in southern Lebanon and are in dire need of additional revenue amid the current crisis.”
The prickly pear harvest season normally starts in mid-July and lasts around two months.
Ismail Amin, director of the Ministry of Agriculture in the southern town of Hasbaya, revealed that many farmers plant prickly pears as an alternative to vines and olives because of their low cost and speedy growth. The plant usually bears fruits in three years, without the need for ploughing, fertilizing or pruning.
The Agricultural Cooperatives Association in southern Lebanon indicated that this year’s production could reach 12,000 tons, the most successful in seven years. About 70 percent would be sold in the local markets, while the rest will be used to extract oil.