The agrofood sector is a major contributor to Lebanon’s industrial sector growth and is expected to continue to play a major role in the economy driven by government support and private sector initiatives to boost its competitiveness.
KEY FACTS AND FIGURES:
In 2017, the agrofood sector was the largest contributor to the industrial sector output at 34% of total and generated 2.4% of the country’s GDP.
The sector has an estimated size of 1.4 billion LBP (922 million USD) and has registered a 3.5% Compounded Annual Growth Rate between 2004 and 2017.
There are around 1,400 agrofood companies constituting the largest share of total industrial firms in Lebanon. More than 45% of the agrofood factories are located in Mount Lebanon Governorate and are engaged in the production of dairy, confectionary, dried fruits and nuts, baked goods, olive oil and wine.
Exports of agrofood products accounted for 15% of total exports and 16% of total industrial exports in 2018. Despite all external and internal challenges, agrofood exports have been growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 4% since 2009 demonstrating the sector’s potential and resilience.
Lebanese agrofood production is diversified with a wide range of traditional and innovative products being exported to regional and international markets. Top three exported agrofood products in 2018 included dried fruits and nuts at 8.3% followed by processed chocolate (8.1%) and sauces and condiments (7%).
Dried fruits and nuts, prepared sauces and condiments and milk and cream were identified as Lebanese agrofood products with high potential for growth given their export trend data. Exports of dried fruits and nuts registered a CAGR of 43% between 2009 and 2017 while sauces increased by 29% and milk and cream by 23%.
Arab countries and in particular the GCC are importing the highest share of Lebanese agrofood products with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and Kuwait importing around 30% of total Lebanese agrofood exports in 2018.
Source: Lebanese National Accounts Report 2017 and Lebanese Customs
Large and diversified agriculture land: Lebanon has the largest agriculture land share from its territory in the Middle East at 63%, supporting the development of a competitive agriculture processing sector.
A large diaspora network: Lebanon has a large diaspora estimated at around 10 million people spread around the world which is a major demand driver for Lebanese agrofood products.
Skilled labour force with competitive wages: The agrofood sector benefits from a cost-effective labour force that can support its development and growth.
Agrofood exporters are also supported to attend international fairs and exhibitions under the Agro Map program developed by IDAL.
The Ministry of Industry through the Industrial Research Institute and ELCIMcenter provides technical assistance to manufacturing companies including agrofood producers to improve their production processes.
LIBNOR, a public institution under the Ministry of Industry, is the only organization responsible of preparing, publishing and amending national standards, as well as granting the Lebanese Conformity Mark NL.
Access to competitive financing: The Central Bank of Lebanon offers subsidized loans for the industrial sector to support the development and expansion of productive industries including agrofood production.
International treaties and agreements: Lebanon’s exports benefit from favorable export terms and access to external markets thanks to a number of bilateral and multilateral agreements most notably EU- Lebanon Association Agreement, EFTA, GAFTA, GSP…
Lebanon economic vision: The Lebanon economic vision developed by Mckinsey Consultancy in 2018 identified the agrofood sector as a priority sector to be supported by the Lebanese government in terms of export and investment promotion. This is expected to accelerate growth in the sector in the short to medium term.
Agrytech cluster: Berytech, a major startups incubator, launched in 2019 the agrytech cluster, QOOT, to support innovation in the agrofood sector and help in the development of new innovative products that can be exported.
Gastro diplomacy initiative:The Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched in 2018 a gastrodiplomacy initiative to help in the marketing of agrofood products worldwide and especially in diaspora communities.
AGROFOOD FACT BOOK 2018
Agrofood Investment Incentives
INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE AGROFOOD SECTOR 2018