The Investment Development Authority in Lebanon (IDAL) has increased the financial incentives of its Agri-Plus program. The program supports agricultural and industrial exporters.
IDAL increased the subsidies by 15 percent. It also increased the financial incentives to products exported to Jordan by 43 percent.
IDAL’s financial incentives are based on the type of product, destination, and quality of packaging. IDAL divides export destinations into four zones. Zone A includes nearby countries such as Syria. Zone B includes Egypt, Libya, Sudan, Turkey, and Gulf countries. Zone C includes European and African countries, and zone D includes the United States, Australia, and the Far East. For instance, every ton of citrus fruit with excellent packaging exported to zone A earns LL70,000 ($47) support from IDAL. This support increases to LL100,000 ($67,000) when exported to zone B.
According to IDAL, the Agri-Plus program over the last five years enhanced the quality of products and packaging. Many packaging centers gained the HACP and ISO certificates in order to benefit from the subsidy. Several farmers gained the Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) certificate for quality.
Cabinet also extended by an additional year the maritime transport export subsidy program (M.LEB) managed by IDAL. M.LEB covers part of the transportation costs incurred on roll-on-roll-offs (RoRo’s) to Arab countries. Some $14 million is earmarked for the program annually. The transportation cost through RoRos to Dhiba Port in Saudi Arabia is around $9,000 per shipment, of which $3,000 is funded by IDAL.
Agricultural exports totaled 380,000 tons in 2017, 90 percent of which benefited from the Agri-Plus program.
Approximately 150,000 tons of products were exported via RoRos last year. Around 88 percent were agricultural products, eight percent in agro-food industries, and the remainder in the industrial sector. Around 7,500 containers were exported on RoRos last year, of which 6,677 were supported by IDAL.