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September 20, 2010
Insect destroys Chouf's mountain tomatoes

Insect destroys Chouf's mountain tomatoes


CHOUF: An unusual insect has destroyed over 80 percent of mountain tomato crops in the Chouf, and farmers are complaining the Agriculture Ministry is not doing enough to tackle it.
The bug, which appeared during the summer and is believed by local farmers to be a product of the unusually hot weather, has been threatening the harvest of mountain tomatoes – a type of Lebanese tomato which is bigger than other breeds and is grown toward the end of summer.
The insect was dubbed “the black butterfly” by local farmers, who said the damage it is causing is tremendous.
Barouk farmer Ramez Zahreddine told The Daily Star that over 80 percent of this year’s crop has been destroyed and the insect is continuing to cause damage. “It starts by eating away at the leaves and then infiltrates the fruit and lays its eggs deep inside the plant … It’s multiplying quickly because of the weather,” he said.
Farmers are struggling to control the insect because of its fast movement and reproduction, but also because of a lack of pesticides.
Only one type of insect repellent is currently available, but farmers claim it is not effective. They have asked the Agriculture Ministry to intervene and provide the necessary chemicals

“This is one of the most dangerous problems we’ve encountered in Lebanon … This is a test for the ministry,” said farmer Toufiq Abu Alwan.
arvesting mountain tomatoes is the main source of livelihood for many in the Chouf.
Hassan Halawi said he has invested LL27 million into cultivating mountain tomatoes this year but has only earned LL 5 million back

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Greenpeace urges the Lebanese Government to adopt a plan to conserve coastal waters   September 8, 2010
Greenpeace urges the Lebanese Government to adopt a plan to conserve coastal waters
September 8, 2010
Greenpeace urges the Lebanese Government to adopt a plan to conserve coastal waters In a report issued yesterday, Greenpeace organization stressed the need of “A network of Marine Reserves in the Coastal Waters of Lebanon”. The report appears in an advanced stage of Greenpeace’s ‘‘Defending Our Mediterranean Campaign’’. It includes an analysis of the contemporary conditions of Lebanese marine coastal habitats and an overview of the fishing sector. Conclusions are alarming: coastal waters are seriously jeopardized. Pollution and illegal fishing practices are the main causes behind the destruction of marine life. Though, the Mediterranean Sea is a rich and diverse environment, home to many unique species and important ecosystems, encompassing up to 9% of the world’s marine biodiversity. The report calls for the establishment of a network of marine reserves and the re-enforcement of sound fishering policies along the whole Lebanese coast. As Garabed Kazanjian – Greenpeace Mediterranean oceans campaigner – said, the matter is to, “Ensure the conservation of the coastal marine biodiversity and help replenish the depleted fish stocks”. Greenpeace is now concluding the final details with the Ministry of Environment and the Byblos Municipality for a marine reserve in Byblos - considered as a pilot project.
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