Feature: Farmers in Lebanon’s rural areas fear rain shortage to impact harvest


BEIRUT, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) — Jihad Tarhini, an eldery Lebanese farmer, stood in his field, north of Lake Qaraoun in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, praying for rain to irrigate his land that was planted with grains and vegetables.

Tarhini told Xinhua that the rain shortage will negatively impact his plants.

He explained that farmers usually rely on the rains of December and January to irrigate their fields, but the weather is not helpful this year.

“We have no choice but to pray for rain to save our thirsty crops,” he said.

For his part, Hassan Mari, a 52-year-old farmer from the town of Al-Marj in western Bekaa, told Xinhua that the agricultural fields are in dire need for irrigation.

“We’ve made great efforts to complete our farming activities, hoping that it will give us some goods during the coming months, but we are afraid that we will lose our crops due to an unprecedented drought in this period of winter,” he said.

Mari expressed his hope that the rains will return within the next few days, otherwise farmers will be forced to irrigate them with tanks of water at a high cost.

Farmer Ahmed Al-Amouri, who was inspecting his field in the Majidiyah Plain in southeast Lebanon, told Xinhua that Lebanese authorities encourage farmers to grow grains, especially wheat.

He said that farmers received some support from the ministry of agriculture, such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, but the lack of rain will still impact farmers’ harvest.

An official source at the ministry of agriculture in the Bekaa region told Xinhua that he did not expect heavy rains before mid-January.

He said that “farmers should be prepared to rationalize the use of irrigation water, because if the drought continues, the summer and early autumn months of this year will be tough in terms of securing drinking and irrigation water, not to mention the shortage of groundwater.” Enditem


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