The Lebanese Poultry Syndicate, headed by William Boutros, issued a statement, in which it addressed “the fallacies that are being marketed by some parties on basic issues that would target and harm the poultry sector, the national economy, and the food security of the Lebanese.”
The syndicate stated that “the poultry sector in Lebanon is a strategic and essential sector, and its contributions are very large at the national level, as it constitutes 3 percent of Lebanon’s national product, and occupies 20,000 families in the periphery, more than 60 factories and 2,000 farms, and it mainly contributes to securing social and economic stability as well.” On preserving the food security of the Lebanese, as it is the only source of protein produced in Lebanon and provides self-sufficiency.
And she pointed out that “the recent decisions taken regarding customs duties on imported frozen chicken breast came to link the minimum price for customs fulfillment priced at 1,500 Lebanese pounds at an exchange rate, which is the normal thing after the exchange rate of the dollar reached 95 thousand pounds.”
She stated that “the correctness of the decision to restore the minimum customs clearance for poultry was confirmed by the decrease in prices in Lebanon after the implementation of the decision, which proves that the national production is able to meet the markets and achieve the conditions of competition and consumer protection without the need for imports to control prices.”
And she stressed that “the prices of fresh chicken breast in slaughterhouses range between 4 and 4.5 dollars, not within the limits of 9 dollars as is promoted, and the price of a thigh is between 1.4 and 1.55 dollars, which is the lowest price in the Arab countries (Syria, Jordan, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar … )”.
And she announced that “the consumer is not aware of the existence of the imported frozen breast, as very few sales points and few, if not none of the restaurants, mention the source of the chicken in its price list, so the consumer does not benefit from all this process, but on the contrary, he is the first harmed in particular.” Most of the time, the imported frozen breast is thawed and sold as Lebanese chicken breast.
The Syndicate indicated that it had previously sent books to the Ministry of Agriculture refuting the difference in specifications between high-quality national production and poultry currently imported to Lebanon, and demanded imports from countries whose production conditions are similar to national production. It also announced its readiness to produce chicken with lower specifications and at a lower price, if the state desired to amend the Lebanese specifications to match the specifications of the countries from which they are currently imported.
And she explained, “If someone complains about high import customs duties, he can import chicken breast similar to Lebanese specifications from European Union countries to benefit from customs reductions on poultry from a European source within the framework of the partnership agreement between Lebanon and Europe.”
The Syndicate stressed that “preserving the food security of the Lebanese is in strengthening and stimulating the national production and the productive sectors that everyone calls for, in order to provide vital and basic products, including chicken, which constitutes a basic nutritional need for the Lebanese, and not in destroying the poultry sector from its foundations, as it is an existing and developed product sector that is considered the best.” In the region, which has high efficiency and a permanent ability to meet the needs of the Lebanese in all circumstances, as proven by experience.