Lebanon Exports Wheat to Europe


Jul 18, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minutes

The first 33,000 tons of Wheat shipment, financed under the Lebanon Wheat Supply Emergency Project, arrived at the Port of Beirut in February 2023. The load -equivalent to about one month-worth of Arabic bread consumption in the country helps rebuild Lebanon’s Wheat stock and secure affordable bread for poor and vulnerable households. This first shipment was to be followed by several additional loads of varying sizes over the following months to ensure the continuity of Wheat supply and maintain access to affordable bread throughout the project’s lifespan.

Approved in May 2022, in response to the global market disruptions caused by the war in Ukraine, the US$150 million project aims to ensure the availability of Wheat in Lebanon. Lebanon imports nearly 80% of the Wheat it consumes, and historically, the quasi totality of these imports have come from Ukraine and Russia (respectively 80% and 16% in 2020). The war in Ukraine came when Lebanon grappled with an acute economic and financial crisis, increased unemployment, poverty, vulnerability, and a surge in inflation, particularly food inflation, primarily affecting poorer households among host communities and refugees.

These negative macroeconomic trends are forecast to continue into 2023. Following the Port of Beirut explosion and the destruction of the Port silos that have severely reduced the domestic storage capacity, Wheat imports have been handled just in time.

The project has multiple layers of mitigation measures to ensure efficient and transparent implementation of activities under World Bank supervision. These include a competitive process to purchase Wheat, with close attention to market developments and price analysis through technical cooperation between the World Bank and FAO, third-party monitoring of the Wheat, flour, and bread distribution and consumption throughout the value chain, strong focus on full compliance with the World Bank’s fiduciary, safeguards, and anti-corruption policies, as well as the public disclosure of the Wheat purchase contract awards and future project results.

While addressing the urgent food security needs in the immediate term, the project is also helping develop the framework for reforms in Wheat sector policy and governance, including storage solutions and local production potential, with the longer-term goal of putting the Wheat sector on a pathway toward recovery and greater resilience.

The Wheat Supply, Emergency Response Project, includes a US$15 million grant from the Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF), a fund created in 2016 to provide concessional financing to middle-income countries hosting large numbers of refugees considering the global public good they are providing. The project will be closed by 31 May 2024.

Lebanon Exports Wheat to Europe

Wheat Trade in Lebanon

According to AgFlow data, Lebanon imported 0.5 million tons of Wheat in Jan-Jun 2023. In May-June, key suppliers were Russia (0.15 million tons), Romania (6,600 tons), and Ukraine (3,800 tons). 

In 2021, Lebanon imported Wheat worth $303 million, becoming the world’s 50th largest importer of Wheat. In the same year, Wheat was Lebanon’s 6th most imported product. Lebanon imports Wheat primarily from Ukraine ($162 million), Russia ($55.6 million), Moldova ($38 million), Romania ($32.5 million), and Bulgaria ($10.2 million). The fastest-growing import markets in Wheat for Lebanon between 2020 and 2021 were Moldova ($32.5 million), Serbia ($2.32 million), and Kazakhstan ($1.38 million).

In 2021, Lebanon exported Wheat worth $1.54 million, making it the world’s 62nd largest exporter of Wheat. In the same year, Wheat was Lebanon’s 231st most shipped product. The leading destination of Wheat exports from Lebanon is Turkey ($927k), Jordan ($424k), the Netherlands ($84.6k), Brazil ($44.1k), and the United Kingdom ($28.6k). The fastest-growing export markets for Wheat in Lebanon between 2020 and 2021 were Turkey ($916k), Jordan ($243k), and the Netherlands ($84.6k).

Other sources: WORLD BANK

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