Friday, July 4, 2008

Export water plus

If you read Arabic, this is really worth reading: a report in the economic page of al akhbar on the export plus program that is being reinstated. It is the only "agricultural" subsidies program, it is outside the ministry of agriculture, and it consists in covering part of the costs of exports. The main beneficiaries, in spite of what many say (read the last section), were the big exporters. This is confirmed by the (not so small) farmers interviewed in this article and in the last paragraph of the following article. This other article, also from the economics page of al akhbar (have I mentionned before that it is the best daily in the Arab World?) on the potato farmers crisis. Syria has agreed to allow the transit of Lebanese potatoes in covered trucks (not in fridges) which will reduce the export costs. But read the last 2 paragraphs: farmers pump water from as deep as 700 m to irrigate the potato fields with precious groundwater. The water table has dropped by several hundred meters in the past 30 years. This is the real situation: we cheaply export water in the form of potatoes.

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