Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Farming out

"A sense of crisis prevails among American farmers who rely on immigrant laborers, more so since legislation in the United States Senate failed in June and authorities announced a crackdown on employers of illegal immigrants. An increasing number of farmers have been testing the alternative of raising crops across the border where many of the workers are, according to growers and lawmakers in the United States and Mexico. economist at the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy in Palo Alto, compared unemployed Americans with illegal immigrant workers in the labor market. “The bottom line,” he concluded, “is that most unemployed workers are not available to replace fired unauthorized immigrant workers,” in part because very few of the unemployed are in farm work." (Thanks D.)

Many Lebanese agribusinesses especially in the poultry field are already installed in Syria and run joint ventures. I'm sure an expansion is on the agenda of many among them. Plenty are already installed in Egypt where the absence of labor rights and the ease of the business regulations attract capital investment. Problem is, what will the Lebanese who are involved in farming and in agribusinesses do? Are we ready for another 10% unemployment on top of what we already have? Especially if those come from Akkar, Hermel, Baalback and the South?

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