Thursday, June 28, 2007

Grain of wisdom

Wheat production (in spite of the subsidies) continues to shrink in lebanon. This year's area planted in wheat is 13,000 hectares, 2000 ha less than last year. The cost of producing one ton is around $110. The Lebanese government buys it for $250, and sells it to the industrial mills for $200. So the subsidy is $50 per ton. The total production this year is expected to be 70,000 tons. If I'm doing my math correctly, the government subsidy will be in the order of $3.5 millions. The government thinks that by cutting subsidies and saving $3.5 million per year it is going to plug the $40 billions in debt it has created. Could the wish to stop subsidies be due to the Free Trade Agreements about to be signed with the US? At a time when grain reserves are at their lowest in the world? At the time when the price of wheat is expected to suddenly start climbing because of the biofuel craze? At the time when the US grain mountains have become pimples and free grain donations may evaporate soon?

Arabic article in al akhbar

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