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Libyan Newswire

GIEWS Country Brief: Libya 17-October-2019


Despite recovery in economic growth, insecurity and expensive agricultural inputs continue to limit crop production

Below average cereal crop harvested in 2019

People in need of assistance estimated at 0.8 million

Insecurity and expensive agricultural inputs continue to limit crop production

The planting of 2020 winter grain crops is about to start and will continue until mid November. The actual start of the planting depends on the soil moisture. Seasonal autumn showers started on time in October.

Environmental constraints limit the development of agriculture in the country. About 85 percent of the 15.4 million hectares of agricultural land is classified as pasture, about 1.8 million hectares as arable and 300 000 hectares as permanent crops, mostly fruit and olive trees. The area suitable for irrigation is about 470 000 hectares, but only some 240 000 hectares are currently irrigated due to concerns over the depletion of underground water. Cereals are mostly cultivated in the coastal regions, where rainfed production or cropping with supplementary irrigation is possible, and in the arid southern areas under full irrigation. Wheat is used exclusively for human consumption, while all the other cereals are used as animal feed. The most commonly grown vegetables are tomatoes, peppers, onions and leafy greens.

Although agriculture contributed less than 3 percent to the Gross Domestic Production (GDP) in 2010 (last information available), over one fifth of the population is engaged in a variety of agricultural activities, often producing crops only for household consumption. Farmers report that power cuts, insecurity as well as expensive seeds, water, fuel, tools and machinery limit their capacity to produce. 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.

Source: Food and Agricultural Organizations of the United Nations