While the Lebanese agricultural sector is heavily affected by the current economic crisis, it has become increasingly difficult for farmers to sustain their productions. The low purchasing power and inflation in addition to the increased costs of fuel have led to the reduction of cultivated land by 20-30 %, shifting from protected to open-field productions, and use of lower quality products (Seeds, Fertilizers, Pesticides…).
The latter repercussion being of heavy impact of the sector, non-certified and re-packed seeds have invaded the market as farmers attempt to reduce their cost of production by purchasing cheaper seeds of mostly unknown origin.
An important aspect that many miss when opting for alternative non-certified seeds is that these products which are non-certified in accordance to the highest quality standards (ISTA, NAL…) present a myriad of issues when planted such as;
- Low germination rate
- Bad purity
- Low commercial value of the crop (due to High disease infection, weed invasion, poor resistance to climatic conditions, bad fruit quality, low yield …
Therefore, and by saving on the seed costs, farmers would be not only jeopardizing the work of a full season but also inducing lower income.
This is why it is crucial to ensure a stable supply of superior seeds varieties from a trustful company and suppliers. These varieties that have been tested and trialed under local conditions can offer improved yield and quality, reliability, and disease resistance.
What to look for when buying seeds?
To safeguard your production, making sure that your seeds have are properly labeled is key. An official label should have the following information:
- Lot and batch Number
- Treatment (fungicide)
- Content (seed count and/or weight)
- Germination Rate
- Country of origin
- Production and test date
- Supplier and distributor
Challenging times require exceptional solutions, this is why the best way to lower production costs while still getting the desired yields in terms of quality and quantity is by following the Integrated Crop Management (ICM) practices that inevitably start with the procurement of certified seeds. Stay tuned to learn more about Debbane’s road to Sustainability, and the best practices to adopt during these difficult times.
by A. Freji