Farmers in Lebanon expect the country's apple production to reach 8m boxes this year, with volumes rising by 1.5m boxes in Bsharri and by 250,000 boxes in Ehden.
According to the country's Daily Star, there are major concerns among growers about prices. Two weeks ago, merchants and dealers paid no more than L£12,000 (€5.70) for a 20kg box of apples, the paper reported.
According to the agricultural coordinator in Bsharri, Anwar Fakhri, this year’s apple season has suffered from three main problems: hot weather, rising production costs and state negligence.
The Investment Development Authority of Lebanon (IDAL) has reduced its support for the country's apple growers, paying L£600 (€0.29) a box as opposed to L£3,000 (€1.43).
“Farmers are unjustly treated and they are left at the mercy of greedy brokers and traders,” he said.
Faced with a limited market for their crops and with scant support, farmers have been given the choice of destroying the surplus or bearing the cost of conserving it in refrigerators.