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Lebanese apples tap new markets

Apple exporters in Lebanon have recently broken into new markets, including Iraq, Libya and Egypt

Lebanese apples tap new markets

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At a news conference this week, Lebanese officials announced that the country's apple exporters had gained access to to the Middle Eastern markets of Iraq, Libya and Egypt, according to a report in local newspaper the Daily Star.

Minister Hussein Hajj Hasan said that efforts to clamp down on pesticide residues and improvements in packaging quality were key to opening up new markets.

"The Agriculture Ministry is now offering free tests on chemical residue and is giving a health certificate for exports," he explained.

The head of the investment development authority, Nabil Itani, confirmed that quality standards in the country had rocketed.

"Only 1-1.5 per cent of shipped Lebanese agricultural produce is turned down and those rejected are because of cooling or packaging requirements," he said.

He also urged exporters to tap promising new markets, including Russia and Iraq, while Iraqi, Egyptian and Libyan officials present promised to boost trade ties with Lebanon.

Meanwhile, energy and water minister Gebran Bassil said the country needed to construct more water dams, since irrigated agricultural land had decreased from 70 per cent to 50 per cent.

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