Agriculture and fishing
Almost 40 percent of Lebanon’s area consists of arable land, but just over a third is cultivated. Agriculture is important, especially along the coast and in the Beka Valley.
- CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Lebanon. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.
In the coastal areas most olives and fruits grow, such as melons, bananas, citrus fruits and apples. Inland from Tripoli is grown cotton and onions. On the slopes down to the Beka valley to the east, the climate is ideal for viticulture, while the most common crops in the valley are root vegetables, cereals and tobacco. Along the Litani River further south, cotton is cultivated.
Livestock management occurs mainly in the mountain areas. For Lebanon defense and foreign policy, please check recipesinthebox.
During the Civil War, cannabis plants were a common crop in the Beka Valley. The cultivation was largely stopped by the authorities in the 1990s. But many promised development projects were not realized, and some farmers returned to profitable, illegal, cannabis cultivation.
The soil is fertile in many places, access to water is good and the weather is favorable. About a third of the crops are irrigated.
Nevertheless, agriculture is often underdeveloped and poorly managed. Most plots are small and the work is done with simple tools. Many farmers lease the land of larger landowners. War and unrest have at times made it difficult to use the earth especially in the south.
The majority of agricultural products are consumed in the country, but some are exported to the Arabian Peninsula, among others. The state protects domestic agriculture through restrictions on imports.
Around 13 percent of Lebanon’s area consists of forests, but no significant forest industry exists. A lot of trees are harvested for use as fuel in households. Harvesting is to such an extent that it poses a threat to the forest stock.
Fishing is mainly offshore but has little significance for the country’s economy.
About our sources
FACTS – AGRICULTURE
Agriculture’s share of GDP
2.9 percent (2018)
Percentage of land used for agriculture
64.3 percent (2016)
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Offers how the 3-letter acronym of LBN stands for the state of Lebanon in geography.
Car director from the ashes in the fire?
Carlos Ghosn, businessman and former chief of car manufacturer Nissan, has escaped to Lebanon from house arrest in Japan, where he is suspected of eco crime. Ghosn carries a Lebanese passport (but is also a French and Brazilian citizen). There is no extradition agreement between Lebanon and Japan, but a Japanese call via Interpol could still put Lebanon’s government in a rage. Two lawyers report criminal charges against Ghosn for visiting Israel. The bay is banned for Lebanese because Lebanon and Israel are technically at war.
Skepticism towards new government
Hassan Diab, an academic with a technical field and with experience as Minister of Education, gets President Aoun’s assignment to form a government. He states that the ambition is to form an expert government. The leaders of the big protest movement are skeptical. They demand that the government be recruited from people who have no ties to the parties and the old political elite.
Requirements for investigation after a violent weekend
After a turbulent weekend, when 28 people were taken to hospitals following clashes between protesters and security forces, Interior Minister Raya al-Hasan ordered a “thorough and transparent” investigation into the forces’ actions. The next day, President Aoun chooses to postpone the consultations with the parties once again needed for the formation of a new government (see October 29). It has been almost two months since a popular wave of protests took off, targeting both Lebanon’s political elites in general and unpopular decisions and price increases in particular.
Donor countries increase the pressure for reform
Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who, despite the popular protests in the fall, continues to lead his government as an expedition minister, is turning to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank with a request for help to draw up a crisis plan. The donor countries, the day before, have refused to provide financial crisis support; they expect a new government to be formed and take responsibility for political reform. Hariri fears, among other things, that Lebanon should not be able to afford to import basic goods, which could lead to demonstrations taking on more violent terms than hitherto.
US military aid frozen by Trump
It appears that the White House has withheld military aid worth $ 105 million to Lebanon for months, despite the US Congress approving the aid. The freeze has been confirmed by a diplomat who spoke under oath before Congress. Donald Trump’s government has not explained why the aid is being withheld, but it has openly called for political groups in Lebanon to isolate Shiite Hezbollah in other contexts. On December 2, the White House announces that the money will be paid out.
The Law Society gets independent leaders
The wave of protests against Lebanon’s political elite is entering its second month. The protesters are reaping a success when a candidate who does not belong to the “political class” (influential clans with different religious affiliations who by and large distribute the power positions among themselves) is elected chairman of the country’s advocacy community. By extension, system critics see an opening so that even posts in the state administration can go to people who are outside the clans of power. A former finance minister who has been tipped to become a new prime minister at the same time resigns, after being labeled as corrupt by the protesters.
Death shot against demonstrator
In a coastal town south of Beirut, a man loses his life when the army opens fire to disperse protesters blocking roads. The death victim is believed to be the second since the fall wave of protests began and a soldier is arrested. The influential drus leader Walid Jumblatt says the victim belonged to his party, but Jumblatt urges his supporters to restrain: “If we lose faith in the state, it will be chaos.” Many schools and bank offices are closed, and employees of two mobile operators strike. President Aoun says on TV that he recommends that a new government should consist of both politicians and experts.
Protest meetings in several cities
“The day of determination” has been announced as the government’s critics gather for new mass meetings in several cities. Saad al-Hariri’s government remains as an expedition minister and some political messages that satisfy the protesters’ demands have not come from the leaders of the political power blocks. A strong wish on the part of the demonstrator is that an expert government should take over. Uncertainty about the Lebanese currency and rumors of impending commodity shortages have led many consumers to hoard food.
The government is leaving
Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri announces in a televised speech that he will submit his and the government’s resignation application to President Aoun. The message has been preceded by confrontations between protesters and counter-protesters. The protest movement, which in recent weeks has questioned both the government and the Lebanese constitution, claims that leaders of the Hezbollah and Amal Shiite movements have urged their supporters to sabotage the actions of others in support of the demands.
Human chain through the country
Tens of thousands of protesters form a human chain from north to south through Lebanon, along a distance of 17 miles. The campaign is part of the daily wave of protests against Lebanon’s leading politicians. The protesters return with various forms of protests, such as blocking main streets, but they have not been prevented from carrying out manifestations other than in individual places. The powerful Shiite Hezbollah movement, which is part of the government and has numerous militia of its own, has also been most cautious, but urged its own supporters not to participate in the protests.
Former head of government crime suspect
At the same time as the government-critical protests in the streets and squares continue, state media reports that Najib Mikati, former prime minister, is suspected of corruption. Mikati and several relatives must have enriched themselves with illegal methods, in mascopy with a Libyan bank. Mikati, a telecom businessman, denies and claims that the target is a political revenge for choosing not to support President Aoun. In 2018, media reported that Mikati had access to government-subsidized housing loans intended for low- and middle-income earners.
Giant protests shake elites
After four days of government-critical giant demonstrations – the largest in many years – the government promises a reform package that includes halved political salaries and anti-corruption measures. The protests stem from deficiencies in community service (such as water, electricity, healthcare, transport and waste management) but also in announced austerity and tax increases on, among other things, messaging services. The protesters are not only critical of the government’s way of dealing with Lebanon’s economic crisis, they believe the political elite is the very cause of the crisis: Leaders of the various population groups use political offices to strengthen their own power base, including by playing out their sympathizers to others groups. They also buy loyalty from followers by arranging jobs and assignments in the public sector.
Extensive fires in nature
Lebanon is ravaged by the most severe land and forest fires in decades. About a hundred new fires are discovered in a single day. The fires have started in the west, under a heatwave with heavy winds. Occasional deaths have been required and the smoke is heavy over cities such as Beirut and Saida. From Cyprus, Greece and Jordan will help with flight control.
Dollar shortage and concern for devaluation
Lebanon’s credit rating was lowered or placed under observation at three major rating agencies during the year. This can make it more expensive for the state to borrow money, and a write-down of the country’s currency seems to be able to stand at the door. In 1997, a fixed exchange rate, 1,500 Lebanese pounds against a US dollar, was introduced, and the dollar has since been used as a daily currency and the pound. But the belief in the pound has fluctuated and the central bank has introduced restrictions to control currency flows. For several weeks, it has been difficult to withdraw dollars from ATMs or exchange large amounts into a bank. In some places, the consequences have been described as panic scenes. Petrol station owners in particular have been upset because they have to pay the fuel they provide in dollars. Lebanon is a country with large debts, and loans to the state from abroad,
New prosecution against suspected Hariri assassin
Prosecution is brought before a UN-backed court in The Hague against Hezbollah member Salim Ayyash, who has previously been suspected of the murder of politician and businessman Rafiq al-Hariri in 2005. The new charge of terrorism and murder concerns three other assaults on politicians in 2004 and 2005. Rafiq al-Hariri (father of today’s prime minister) is believed to have been murdered because he opposed Syria’s involvement in Lebanon’s affairs. His death contributed to the Syrian regime being forced to withdraw its military forces from neighboring countries. The UN Special Court in the Netherlands began its work in 2009, and Ayyash is one of four who have been charged with the murder of Hariri (who claimed 22 lives) without being able to be arrested. A fifth, the probable “brain” behind the bombing, is believed to have fallen in 2016 in the civil war in Syria.
Firing at the border
Hezbollah fires anti-tank missiles at military targets in Israel, responding with hundreds of grenades across the border. This means another step up in the increasingly tense situation between the parties. The day before, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has stated that the Iran-backed movement has decided to respond to the Israeli drone attack a week earlier. The development is causing concern in the outside world. The UN calls for calm and France says it will engage in dialogue with both parties. The United States expresses concern about Iran’s “destabilizing role”, and support for Israel’s right to self-defense. Bahrain has called on its citizens to leave Lebanon immediately.
Defense fire against Israeli drones
The army opens fire on Israeli drones who are alleged to have violated Lebanese airspace in the south. It comes a few days after Israeli drone attacks against Hezbollah and a Palestinian group in Lebanon.
Israeli drone attack “a declaration of war”
President Michel Aoun condemns the Israeli drone attack on Hezbollah the day before and calls it a “declaration of war” that justifies a military response. Israel has not taken up the attack, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is ready to defend itself against Iranian threats “on several fronts”. Hezbollah has strong ties to Iran. A Palestinian group in Lebanon, PFLP-GC, also claims to have been subjected to an Israeli drone attack shortly after the Hezbollah attack. The day before the Beirut attacks, Israel carried out air strikes in Syria, according to its own discretion to prevent an Iranian attack on Israel. The UN calls on all parties to restraint.
Israeli attack against Hezbollah
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah is threatening Israel with retaliation following an Israeli drone attack on Hezbollah’s stronghold in southern Beirut, killing two Hezbollah members. According to Nasrallah, the attack is the first such “hostile” act since the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah. Later, the Shiite movement states that a second Israeli drone that exploded in the air also carried explosives. The hostile rhetoric between Israel and Hezbollah has increased in recent months.
Protest with and without printing ink
The front page is black and ten pages blank when the English-language newspaper The Daily Star protests against political inability to solve Lebanon’s serious problems, which are listed: paralyzed government work, environmental destruction, unemployment, government debt, illegal weapons… The newspaper is owned by Reporters Without Borders by Prime Minister -Hariri’s family, and a source states that employees have not received their salaries for June and July. A few months earlier, the country’s oldest newspaper al-Nahar came out with a completely blank number to express criticism of the government’s withdrawal at the time (see October 11, 2018).
“Hezbollah’s Banks” doomed
A Lebanese businessman singled out as a banker for the Hezbollah movement is sentenced in the United States to five years in prison and $ 50 million is declared forfeit. He has acknowledged money laundering that has been done to avoid sanctions. The man ran companies in Lebanon and Africa that also did business with American companies. He was released to the United States in 2017 after being arrested, unclear where.
Sore Christian tears stop rock bands
Following demands from Christian representatives, the band Mashrou ‘Leila is forced to cancel a concert, which would have taken place at a festival in Byblos in August. The singer is openly gay and the band’s lyrics often deal with topics that are taboo in the Arab world. Among those who upset the Christians is a several-year-old Facebook post where a picture of the Virgin Mary was exchanged for pop star Madonna.
Swing strap budget adopted
Parliament is voting in favor of the government’s budget proposal for 2019. In the latter, protests are against measures aimed at shrinking state spending. Pensioners with a background in army and security services demonstrate in Parliament against their pensions being reduced.
US sanctions against parliamentarians
The United States imposes sanctions on three members of the powerful Shiite Hezbollah movement, among them two elected in Lebanon’s parliament. It is the first time the United States, which considers Hezbollah a terrorist group, blacklists its elected representatives. President Aoun – who is a Maronite (Christian) but was elected to his post with the support of the Hezbollah movement – regrets the decision. According to Prime Minister Hariri, the sanctions do not affect the government, which includes Hezbollah ministers.
New newspaper on the shaky market
A new national newspaper on paper, Nida al-Watan, is starting to sell. The six-day newspaper will draw attention to corruption, foreign involvement in Lebanon’s affairs and illegal use of force, declares the editor-in-chief. Financier is a businessman with previous ties to a Christian party and to the political March 14 alliance, which with Saudi and US backing has opposed Syria’s involvement in Lebanon. There is a great deal of newspaper flora, but most of the media is linked to one of the country’s heavy political players. In recent years, several newspapers have stopped publishing paper.
Refugees must demolish the black building
According to the UN, about 35,000 Syrian refugees are affected by government orders that the shelters they live in should be demolished. The Lebanese authorities, who see the shed as the black building, do not want to encourage permanent residence and have set a time limit. Many Syrians have lived in shanty towns and are now moving into tents. UNHCR still has almost one million Syrians registered as refugees in Lebanon and the real number is believed to be higher.
The government agrees on the budget
The government approves a state budget characterized by turnaround measures to meet requirements set by international lenders at a Lebanon meeting in Paris last year (see April 6, 2018 and April 17, 2019). The budget must also be adopted in Parliament. Among the elements in the government’s hunt for revenues that have caused popular anger is a new tax to be paid by the person who orders a hookah at the local. The café guest may pay the equivalent of SEK 6 and SEK 0.25 in tax.
Accusations of prisoner abuse are being investigated
Interior Minister Raya al-Hasan says she will investigate the case after a suspected drug dealer died in custody on May 11. Before the man died, he accused the police of assault. Human rights organizations claim that reports of such abuse are not uncommon but are not properly investigated. Lebanon adopted a law against torture in September 2017 and the minister has promised a review of the prison system.
Legendary church leader goes out of time
Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir dies. As the leader of the Maronite Church, a post he left in 2011, he has played a key role in Lebanon’s political event development. For example, he supported the 1989 agreement that ended a multi-year civil war. Christian militias were among the forces fighting each other during the war. He also played an active role after the turn of the millennium, when growing popular resistance led Syria to withdraw its military forces from Lebanon.
Rewards should expose cash flows to Hezbollah
The United States announces a $ 10 million reward to anyone who can provide such information that the financial flows to the Hezbollah movement can be stifled. The US wants to know more about who contributes, which banking companies are involved in transfers and what government-controlled companies may be involved. An example of a businessman with investments in telecom companies in African countries is identified.
The state plans savings packages
The state budget for 2019 is not clear, but Prime Minister Hariri announces a pivotal package to rectify the state’s deficit. He does not disclose the measures the government is considering, but suggests that reduced soldiers’ salaries may be considered. Public servants have both striked and demonstrated after ministerial statements that deteriorating conditions could stand at the door. A reform package for the electricity supply, which among other things entails increased electricity prices, has recently been adopted.
Fallen back to Israel
The remains of a soldier missing since a battle in the Beka Valley in 1982 have been returned to Israel. There, TV states that Russia had a role in the process, through its allies in the region. About 20 Israelis were killed and five were missing after the battle. Two soldiers, living, were part of a prison exchange a few years later. Two are still missing.
Cool meetings after US promises to Israel
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lands in Beirut, his last arrest on a Middle East tour to garner political support against Iran. He has the cap aimed at Hezbollah, the Shi’a movement that is affiliated with the regimes in Iran and Syria. Pompeo also travels from Israel, with which Lebanon is formally at war, and has signaled there that the United States wants to let Israel retain occupied land. Following meetings in Beirut, the US and Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry leave conflicting messages and a questioning session for the media is set.
British terrorist stamps all over Hezbollah
Britain will classify the entire Hezbollah movement as a terrorist group, with the justification that it is no longer possible to discern what is its armed organization and what is Hezbollah as a political party. When the decision comes into force on March 1, it will be punishable to support the Shi movement, regardless of which branch it states that the aid is intended for. In Lebanon’s new government, Hezbollah controls three of the ministerial posts. At the same time, the movement has conflicting allies in Syria, which are participating in the war on the side of the Assad regime.
Requirements for civil marriage
Protesters in Beirut demand that Lebanon legislate to approve civil marriages entered into in their home country. Lebanon has 15 different laws covering marriage rules, depending on the religion of the citizen – but no law governing civil marriage unless it has been done in another country. Many Lebanese therefore go to Cyprus to marry. The newly appointed Interior Minister Raya al-Hasan has promised a “serious dialogue” on the matter. In 2013, for the first time, a domestic bourgeois marriage was registered, but religious representatives oppose the change of laws.
Saad al-Hariri’s new ministerial list ready
After over eight months of negotiations since the election in May, a new coalition government formed, led by Saad al-Hariri, and with all the heavy political forces represented (see 8 May, 24 May and 10 November 2018). It opens up for the state to raise international loans and aid of almost $ 11 billion – at the same time, high government debt is one of the problems the new government must deal with. Ali Hassan Khalil continues as Finance Minister and Gebran Bassil as Foreign Minister. For the first time, a woman, Raya al-Hasan, is taking up the post of Interior Minister. Among the 30 ministers are four women.