Lebanon’s Citrus Exporters Hope to Regain Regional Status
Since the Gulf War, the export market for Lebanese oranges, particularly the famous Safa fruit, has dried up, and the brand name has lost its status, according to a report by the Daily Star.
"We can't afford to export anymore," Mahmoud Abu Zeinab, export manager for Safa packing house in Sidon told the Lebanese English daily.
"We prefer to stop rather than increase our losses," he said.
According to the paper, the packing center, which before the civil war used to employ 5,000 workers to wax and pack citrus fruit for export, still had 1,000 people on its books when it closed in 1998, unable to compete with cheaper suppliers in the region.
Lebanese citrus-distribution channels to the Gulf were traditionally in Jordanian and Palestinian hands and remained in operation throughout the civil war, said the paper, adding trade was disrupted by the regional and political fallout from the Gulf War, leaving the door open for competitors.
“By supporting the US-led coalition, Turkey and Egypt gained a market advantage in the region. Egypt's low cost of production and Turkey's export subsidies proved too much for most Lebanese fruit exporters to compete with,” according to the report – Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)