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Reference Date: 20-May-2015


  1. Favourable weather conditions prevail; average crop expected

  2. Cereal import requirements in 2014/15 set to increase

  3. New entry and residency rules put break on number of Syrian refugees

Generally favourable conditions for 2015 cereal crops

Harvesting of the 2015 winter grains is scheduled to start in mid-June. Timely and satisfactory rains provided sufficient moisture for crops. Cumulative precipitation by the first decade of May 2015 in all provinces exceeded that of last year as well as the long-term average (1989-2012). Vegetation conditions as captured by the satellite-based Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) suggest a good development of winter crops. Overall, an average cereal harvest is tentatively forecast in 2015.

In 2014, total cereal production is estimated at about 177 000 tonnes, similar to the previous year and the five-year average.

Concerns about sustainability and efficiency of water use in agriculture are prevalent and arise regularly.

Lebanese exporters of horticultural products, fruits in particular, are experiencing difficulties due to the continuing conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic that disrupted land routes with occasional border closings. An alternative marine transportation is costlier but also unsuitable for a variety of highly perishable products.

Cereal import requirement remains high in 2014/15

Domestic cereal production covers on average about 17 percent of the consumption needs and the country depends heavily on imports. In the 2014/15 marketing year (July/June), the cereal import requirement, mainly wheat for human consumption and maize for livestock and poultry, is forecast at 995 000 tonnes, slightly above the previous year.

In March 2015, general inflation was 1 percent, while the food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation was negative 1 percent (beginning from January 2014, the base year for CPI was changed to December 2013). The Consumer Protection Department at the Ministry of Economy and Trade sets the price of local Lebanese flat bread. Other bakery products (baguettes, sandwich bread, etc.) are not subsidized.

New entry and residency rules put break on number of Syrian refugees

Since the beginning of the civil unrest in the Syrian Arab Republic in March 2011, the influx of refugees into Lebanon has steadily increased and, as of early May 2015, almost 1.2 million Syrian refugees are registered in the country. In January 2015, the Lebanese Government decided to introduce new entry and residency rules for Syrian nationals.

The WFP continues providing food assistance to vulnerable Syrian populations in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey. The Operation in Lebanon should reach about 970 000 beneficiaries (including Lebanese returnees) with in-kind food distributions and voucher assistance by December 2015.

Relevant links:
 Earth Observation Indicators
 Seasonal Indicators
 Vegetation Indicators
 Precipitation Indicators
 Graphs & Data
 NDVI & Precipitation
From FAO:
 FAO Country Profiles

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