Syria renews ban on Lebanese potatoes

October 18, 2007
Syria's government renewed a ban on Lebanese  potatoes entering the country on Wednesday, claiming that the produce does not have a proper health certificate. Last week, Lebanese Agriculture Minister Talal Sahli persuaded his Syrian counterpart to lift the ban on importing Lebanese potatoes.

But sources told the Central News Agency that Syrian farmers have pressed their government to renew the ban to protect domestic producers. Lebanese farmers have complained that Syria is smuggling Syrian potatoes into Lebanon, warning that if this continues their livelihoods will be at stake.

They have also complained that most Syrian produce enters the Lebanese market without a health certificate.
Most of Lebanon's potato exports go to Iraq and the Gulf Arab states. But the potato ban is likely to inflict heavy losses on Lebanese farmers because most of the exports are transported by land through Syria.