BEIRUT: Lebanon’s heavy dependence on imported food combined with massive hikes in global food prices between 2007 and 2008 have sparked increases in poverty, said a consultant to the World Bank and FAO at a lecture held Wednesday.
Jane Harrigan said the average Lebanese household spends a large 20 to 30 percent of take-home income on food. Harrigan’s presentation entitled, “The Economics of Food Security in Lebanon” was coordinated by the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences at American University of Beirut.
“Yes, domestic wheat production has increased significantly over the last 15 years but so has domestic demand due to population growth, income growth, and changing consumption patterns,” warned Harrigan.
In 2009, the World Bank rated Lebanon as vulnerable in food security, he added. The global rise in food prices and the fact that Lebanon is heavily dependent on import had some serious macro-economic effects: it led to inflation, a rising agricultural trade deficit, and a major negative social effect.
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