Lebanese farmers are continuing to call for the Central Bank of Lebanon (CBL) to allow them to use euro denominated letters of credit (L/Cs) at a regular market rate to import potato seeds.

The farmers have been pressuring the bank since November to allow euro denominated L/Cs in response to Lebanon's severe US dollar shortage.

Action needed now

The farmers want to open euro denominated L/Cs to import potato seeds as soon as possible so that they will be able to sow the seeds in time for next year's potato harvest.

They say there is a shortage of European potato seeds this year so competition amongst buyers is fierce, and sellers will obviously prefer to deal with buyers with the currency to finance purchases.

Potential losses

The farmers fear European suppliers will sell seeds to other importers if the central bank does not quickly approve the use of euro denominated L/Cs.

Lebanese farmers reckon national revenue from potato sales will be reduced by US$150 million if the CBL fails to provide currency for potato imports.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.