Lebanon’s agriculture sector holds a strong position in the region due to the country moderate climate, rich soil, and abundant water resources. With the development of digital and robotic applications in agriculture, the sector offers investment opportunities across multiple areas.
KEY FACTS AND FIGURES:
In 2018, the agriculture sector generated around USD 1.8 billion or 3.2% of Lebanon’s GDP with its contribution growing at a CAGR of 2% between 2010 and 2018.
4% of total employment or around 63,616 workers are engaged in agricultural activities.
In 2018, top produced crops included potatoes (387,791 tons) followed by tomatoes (300,157 tons) and cucumbers and gherkins (151.558 tons)
Exports of agricultural products have been on the rise over the last couple of years reaching USD 193.1 million in 2019 mostly driven by increasing demand from Gulf countries for fresh produces.
Coffee grasped the largest share of total crop exports with 11.7% of the total, followed by fresh or dried grapes (7.6%) and fresh or chilled potatoes (7.6%)
Arab countries remain Lebanon’s main export markets for agricultural products, accounting for 77.8% of total exports in 2019, including KSA (22%), Qatar (17%) and Syria (12%).
Supportive Government: The sector benefits from financial support, export promotion as well as technical assistance from the government. This support is mostly provided Ministry of Agriculture, the Investment Development Authority of Lebanon, the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute and Kafalat.
Incubation Support: Agrytech, the first incubator and accelerator supporting innovation in the agriculture sector was set-up in 2018 and provide business coaching, technical & financial assistance and industry connections to companies operating in the agri-tech sector.
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 and others.
Qualified Labor Force: Lebanon boasts a world-class education system with one of the most educated labor force in the region. Top Lebanese universities are offering different degrees in the agriculture field, with 2% of total enrolled students (4,210) are engaged in higher education programs in agriculture, fishing and veterinary sciences.
Agritech: Farmers ae implementing new advanced and innovative techniques in the agriculture value-chain including robotic and digital applications with the aim to expand their production and exports
Aquaculture: The high dependence of Lebanon on the import of aquatic and fish produces could serve as a key opportunity to move towards import substitution through the implementation of new farming systems for production efficiency
Post-Harvest Infrastructure: Investment opportunities exist in packaging and cold storage houses with high technical standards, leveraging Lebanon’s strategic location for regional distribution and access to new markets.