Lebanon’s Central Bank Is Reportedly Delaying Payment To Import Wheat

Eric Albrecht/AP | Arab Weekly

The Union of Bakeries in Lebanon issued a statement on Monday, explaining the issue of wheat shortage that is affecting the country.

“The difficulties and problems are increasing for us every day, starting with the power outages and fuel prices, and the cost and materials involved in the industry. We are also questioning the low volume of flour deliveries, which began to decrease last week,” the Union said.

The shortage of flour and wheat, according to the Union, is caused by the Central Bank’s failure to pay for imported wheat. It has caused many mills to stop their production of flour, leading to a decrease in the overall quantities delivered to bakeries, which come from mills that are still operating.

The Union asked in its statement for the reason behind the Central Bank delaying payment for imported wheat, calling on those responsible to act “in the face of the emerging problem,” naming the ministerial committee in charge of the economy.

After the military developments in Eastern Europe and the recent Russian-Ukraine war, the world is gearing up for a tough upcoming agricultural season, expected to impact the food sector worldwide.

Lebanon, which has had enough wheat reserves for one month in February, is no exception.

Last Friday, Lebanon had to ban the export of more than 20 locally produced food items, as a precautionary measure, a move taken by many countries to safeguard their food reserves at the rising food crisis caused by the Russian-Ukraine war.

Lebanon’s self-imposed ban of these exports might temporarily prevent it from a food shortage to a certain extent but it will also impact its economy, which has been in a severe crisis.