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Beirut needs immediate shipments of grain - food is in short supply

WITH the Port of Beirut closed after the massive explosion and infrastructure destroyed, food shortages are rife and half a million children in the city are hungry, according to Save the Children, reports London's Lloyd's List

09 August 2020 - 19:00

WITH the Port of Beirut closed after the massive explosion and infrastructure destroyed, food shortages are rife and half a million children in the city are hungry, according to Save the Children, reports London's Lloyd's List.

The devastating explosion resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands injured, said the report, which looks at the impact the blast and damage to the port is likely to have on shipping, trade and the country's economic recovery.



The country imports 80 per cent of its food and is particularly reliant on the import of wheat to make bread. It imports 1.2 million tonnes of wheat and 900,000 tonnes of corn each year. Barley imports amounted to 70,000 tonnes last year.



The country was expected to import up to 200,000 tonnes during the 2020-21 season, according to analyst Maxigrain, as cited by Standard & Poor's.



It mainly relies on Russia and Ukraine for its grain shipments. Imports are most intensive during the late summer and autumn, with monthly averages ranging from 150,000 tonnes to 300,000 tonnes, Jesper Buhl, managing director of grains consultancy BullPositions, said.



There will now be great pressure to rebuild and ramp up vessel capacity, where possible, at other ports to ensure emergency supplies can be delivered and normal trading resume.



Lebanon is a small and poor country in the midst of its worst financial crisis since the civil war of 1975-1990 when the Covid crisis hit and further weakened demand for goods.


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