It’s usually fun coming across Lebanese products when abroad, but not when it’s at the cost of people in Lebanon.
“So I went shopping and found subsidized lentils. The only problem is that I’m in Africa,” tweeted a Lebanese who is currently located in Sierra Leone.
In Lebanon, when one is not lucky enough to come across the subsidized version, which costs 4,000 LBP, they would end up paying almost 20,000 LBP for a single pack of simple red split lentils.
While it is shocking and outrageous that she came across a Lebanese government-supported product in Africa, it is also unsurprising and has become somewhat expected.
Lentils, which are basic staples in every Lebanese household, and which have been considered ‘peasant food’, are not the only products that have traveled incognito across the region.
Labneh, coffee, rice, cheese, and more were found being sold in Africa, Turkey, Sweden, Kuwait, England, Syria, and presumably more…
The lack of control (or the lack of the will to control) over the smuggling of goods has let people get away with selling products meant to help Lebanese through the dire economic crisis.
People in Lebanon are lining up for subsidized goods and even fighting over goods like sugar or oil in supermarkets in an unprecedented way.
Lebanon’s struggle to lift subsidies on food items is ironic as some will argue Lebanese are not benefitting largely from the government’s support anyway.
Subsidized goods are not the only Lebanese products crossing the borders incognito. The recent scandal of the smuggling of drugs to Saudi Arabia is still making the headlines, exposing the extent of negligence of those governing the country.