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Farmers urged to take precautions before coming storm.

Summary: Lebanon's heavy rainfall and low temperatures has not yet caused any damage to crops but farmers are worried about a storm expected to arrive in the country Saturday, said Ramiz Osseiran, head of the Farmers' Association in south Lebanon.

BEIRUT: Lebanon's heavy rainfall and low temperatures has not yet caused any damage to crops but farmers are worried about a storm expected to arrive in the country Saturday, said Ramiz Osseiran, head of the Farmers' Association in south Lebanon.

"We have not incurred any losses yet but I made a few calls to farmers to ask them to take precautions ahead of tomorrow's expected snowstorm," he told The Daily Star.

The Meteorological Department expects a snowstorm to hit the country starting Saturday and until Wednesday while snow will fall at an altitude of 800 to 1,500 meters.

"We asked farmers to firmly fix their greenhouses ahead of Saturday but unfortunately there is nothing else they can do," Osseiran said.

"Any other measures, such as building walls and fences, requires time and a huge amount of money," he added.

Osseiran said that farmers who do not pick their harvest will be gravely affected by the storm.

He explained that the closure of the Nassib crossing on the Syria-Jordan border and the high cost of the maritime export of crops have prompted farmers to avoid picking their harvest, so they do not to pay for storage of crops in refrigerators until it is possible to export them again by land. "These farmers will incur losses for sure with the arrival of the snowstorm," he said.

"Also some crops such as bananas and oranges cannot be stored in refrigerators and should be exported after picking them," he said.

Meanwhile, George Sakr, head of the syndicate of potato farmers in the Bekaa, said that he is personally waiting for snow and rainfall because it is beneficial for the land, especially as potatoes do not grow before February or March so this crop will not be affected.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7LEBA
Date:Jan 23, 2016
Words:350
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