"This is the crop that pays for the bread we eat. We will fight anyone who wants to destroy it" say hashish growers in the Bekaa, Lebanon.
The Bekaa is one of the poorest areas in the country, and it was heavily hit by the Israeli war on Lebanon of July 2006. Here are the main points of the arabic article.
- Farmers in the Bekaa demand government support in exchange for abandonning the cultivation of Hashish.
- The Bekaa is poor and villages lack access to the most basic services such as health and roads.
- Poverty has been deepened by the July war. Many farmers were forced to take bank loans to feed their families and use their lands as collateral. They are afraid of losing them.
- Resigned minister of agriculture Sahili favors legal planting of hashish according to quota system, and export to Holland.
- Without some form of governmental support and protection, there is no way Lebanese produce can compete with subsidized imports.
- The figures: cost of irrigating 10 hectares of potatoes: 12 million lebanese pounds. Cost of producing one kilo of lebanese potatoes (before packing): 250 lebanese pounds. Price of 1 kilo of imported Egyptian potatoes: 225 lebanese pounds.
- More figures: total cost of production of 10 ha of hashish: 1.5 million lebanese pounds. Yield from 10 ha: 360 kilos of resin. Sale price of 1 kilo of resin: 750,000 lebanese pounds.
- Farmers are ready to defend their livelihoods by force if need be. The army might win but the price will be high.
I wrote on the same issue a while ago, highlighting the Syria-US connection in the hash trade. Check my post of April 19 2007, "Coca or Hash".