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    Lebanese Potato farmers looking to recover losses made during an unseasonably dry harvest season last year have had their hopes dashed, as prices of the produce plummet to below total costs by roughly LL150 per kilogram.

    The year’s first potato harvest, which runs from early June to late August, has seen yields that are “exponentially larger” than they have been in previous years, president of the Agriculture Association in Lebanon Antoine Hwayek told The Daily Star Monday.

    But despite a bumper crop events in the market do not bode well for farmers.

    Transport costs are up by nearly 50 percent due to restrictions in travel to and from Syria, which Lebanese potato exports must pass through in order to reach their predominantly Arab import markets. This coincides with increased inflows of the produce from Lebanon’s embattled neighbor, saturating a domestic market that is already better supplied than usual due to decreased exports and increased yields, and forcing prices down to unprecedented levels.

    Additionally, consumption levels have fallen both regionally and locally, as political insecurity grips many parts of Lebanon and its periphery. Demand for the produce is noticeably smaller, in spite of decreasing prices.
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