FAO: National Grain Production Covers 5% of Libya’s Needs

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On Sunday, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) stated that local cereal production in Libya only meets 5% of the country’s annual needs.

In its report, FAO said that farmers had reported power cuts, and insecurity as the biggest production constraints. Expensive supplies, including seeds, water, fuel, tools, and machinery have also constituted important obstacles to production.

The UN organisation added that Libyan cereal production in 2020 is estimated at 209,000 tonnes. This is about 5% less than the previous year, and about 12% below average. It also noted that the country relies heavily on imports (up to 90%) to cover its cereal requirements, primarily wheat and barley.

“Thus, changes in the domestic cereal production have very little impact on the magnitude of the import requirement. In the 2020/21 marketing year, the actual import requirement is projected at 3.2 million tonnes, about the same as in the previous year,” the report read.

The FAO’s report also indicated that although agriculture contributed to less than 3% of Libya’s GDP in 2011, over one‑fifth of the population is engaged in agricultural activities. Farmers often produce enough crops for household consumption. Sheep and goats dominate livestock production, mostly in the interior of the country. Livestock producers complain about the lack of veterinary services, vaccines, and medicine, as well as the high costs of feed, and fodder.

“Out of 470,000 hectares suitable for irrigation, only some 240,000 hectares are currently irrigated. This is due to concerns over the depletion of underground water. Cereals are cultivated in the coastal regions, where rainfed production or cropping with supplementary irrigation is possible, and in some arid areas in the south under full irrigation,” FAO noted.