Lebanese farmers urge authorities to negotiate opening of Jaber border crossing with Jordan

Lebanese farmers urged on Sunday local authorities to contact Jordanian officials and negotiate with them the necessity of opening the Jaber border crossing to allow Lebanon’s agriculture produce to pass through Jordan to other Arab countries.

“There are around 60 trucks belonging to Lebanese farmers stuck on the Jaber border crossing unable to enter Jordan and other Arab countries,” Ibrahim Tarshishi, head of the farmers’ syndicate in Bekaa, told Xinhua.

Jordan announced last month that it will close the Jaber land crossing with Syria following an increase in COVID-19 cases originating in Syria. The Jaber is the main border crossing for goods and products from Lebanon and Syria to the Gulf region.

“This is a vital route for land export from Lebanon, and closing this route leads to the collapse of the Lebanese agricultural sector,” Tarshishi said.

He insisted that Lebanese authorities should move fast to talk with Jordanian officials on opening this route.

“There is no serious approach by Lebanese officials to solve this issue and the closure of this border violates all trade and economic agreements signed between the two countries to organize export activities,” he said.

Antoine Howayek, president of the farmers’ association, told Xinhua that Lebanese authorities have received several promises from their Jordanian counterparts about the opening of the borders, but nothing happened in this regard so far.

Ramiz Osseiran, head of the farmers’ association in southern Lebanon, believes that that there is a political reason given the dominance of Hezbollah in the country.

He also attributed this problem to competition between Jordanian agro produce and Lebanese products.

The agricultural sector is one of the pillars of the Lebanese economy, contributing 1.8 billion U.S. dollars to the total GDP in 2018, official data showed.