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After Beirut Blast, Lebanon has Less than a Month's Grain Reserves

5 Aug 2020 4:08 pm
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Mumbai (Commodities Control) – Lebanon has enough grain reserves for "a bit less than a month" after an explosion at Beirut port destroyed the nation's main silo, Economy Minister Raoul Nehme said on Wednesday.


"We are currently looking for storage areas," Nehme said, adding that Lebanon needed enough inventories to last at least three months to ensure its food security.


The explosion destroyed the country's largest port - which will now make it harder to import food and other aid - as well as silos that contain the national grain reserve. About 85%of the country's cereals are stored in the facility.


Lebanon imports up to 80%of its food needs and is particularly reliant on imported soft wheat to make Arabic flatbread. Russia and Ukraine are the two biggest exporters of soft wheat to the country. Lebanon imports 12 Lakh tons of wheat and 9 Lakh tons of maize annually.


The port in Lebanon's second largest city Tripoli does not have grain silos, but wheat can be transferred directly to storage facilities in mills some 2 km away, said port director Ahmed Tamer.


The main silo in the port in Beirut had a storage capacity of 120,000 tonnes of grain but was damaged by a huge blast on Tuesday. There have been plans to build one with a 150,000 tonne-capacity in Tripoli, Tamer said.


However, at the time of the blast, the Beirut silo held no more than 15,000 tonnes of wheat as some millers had unloaded cargoes directly because of a delay in issuing letters of credit for payment.

(Commodities Control Bureau)


       
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