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Economy, agriculture and food security
In 2007, Lebanon’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was US$24 billion. Agriculture accounted for 6 percent of GDP and the service sector for more than two-thirds. The total economically active population is 1.34 million, or slightly more than 37 percent of the total population (2005) and in 2003 the unemployment rate was 18 percent. The economically active population in agriculture is estimated at 35 000 (2005), of which 40 percent is female. The agricultural labour force declined from 25 percent in 1967 to less than 9 percent in 1990 and less than 3 percent of the total economically active population in 2005. However, agriculture remains an important source of income in rural areas and although it is difficult to estimate the number of full-time farmers, most families have agriculture as a part-time activity.
The main agricultural products are citrus fruits, grapes, tomatoes, apples, vegetables, potatoes, olives, tobacco, poultry, sheep and goats. Lebanon is an exporter of fruit and vegetables, it is self-sufficient in poultry and produces 45, 15 and 10 percent respectively of its pulses, wheat and sugar needs. It imports 78 percent of its dairy and meat products. In 2005, agricultural exports were estimated at US$196 million, or 17.3 percent of total exports, while agricultural imports were US$1 230 million.
According to the last census carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1999 (almost 30 years after the previous one) there were 194 829 farm holdings (an increase of 39 percent compared with 1970), 87 percent of which had less than 2 ha of cultivated land.