Dairy farmers of North Lebanon protest ‘illegal’ imports


North Lebanon dairy farmers have been complaining about what they described as “illegal competition” by foreign products that are being smuggled into Lebanon and accused Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb on Saturday of failing to enforce price fixing to protect the local market.

“We have a right to live in dignity as farmers, and the government should protect this right,” a banner held by one of the protesters read as farmers poured milk onto a road in Halba Square.

The farmers argue that Chehayeb had vowed during a meeting last month that his ministry will be abiding by a decision to fix the price of one liter of milk at 1,000 LL ( $0.66) to protect local dairy farmers.

He also revealed that imported cheese was undergoing certain measures.

Fadi Hammoud, who read a speech in the name of the angry farmers, said that “small farmers have already announced their bankruptcy,” calling on the Cabinet to protect the rest.

He also accused the state of facilitating the entry of dairy products into Lebanon at the expense of their products.

The protesters vowed to continue protesting until their demands are met.

Mohammad Daher warned that farmers will pour milk in the office of Chehayeb if the crisis wasn’t resolved.

A similar protest will be held Sunday in Al-Abdeh.

Last year, Lebanon’s agriculture and health ministries fixed the price of milk after farmers held several protests as prices dropped below the cost of production due to a sudden decrease in demand.