The agro-food sector has been increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11 percent, according to ‘Investment Opportunities in the Agro-food Sector 2016’ report issued by the Investment Development Authority in Lebanon (IDAL).
The sector has an estimated workforce of 21,000 constituting the highest share of the industrial sector.
Bakery and pastry products represented around 23 percent of the agro-food sector. This was followed by confectionery, 22 percent, dairy products, 16 percent, starch products eight percent, and alcoholic drinks, seven percent.
Agro-food exports increased 25 percent during the last four years, reaching $550 million last year. Bakery and pastry products represented around 18 percent of exports, followed by dairy products, fruits and vegetables, oils, and alcoholic drinks.
Around 65 percent of agro-food products were exported to Arab countries, and 23 percent exported to European countries.
“There is a large potential in the food industrial sector, and it is achieving continuous growth,” said Fadi Gemayel, Chairman of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists.
He said that there is still a shortage in the amount of food produced, which is prohibiting industrialists from penetrating new markets such as Canada and Russia.
According to IDAL, there are increased opportunities in five main sub-sectors: olive oil, dairy products, nuts and dried fruits, wine, and processed food.
Wine has an estimated market value size of $41 million, encompassing 40 wineries. Around 32 percent of the wine was exported to UK, 17 percent to France, and 14 percent to USA.