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In 2010, fruit in general accounted for 47 percent of agricultural production in Lebanon, with citrus making up 28 percent of that, according to statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization.Citrus also accounted for a significant chunk of agricultural exports: 20 percent in 2012, according to Lebanese Customs. Not just an important part of the Lebanese economy, however, citrus fruits are also "an added value to our life in the south," said Mustafa Khalifeh, a farmer who cultivates citrus in the southern town of Sarafand. Like almost all aspects of life in Lebanon, citrus production has also been impacted by the civil war in neighboring Syria. In 2012, Syria accounted for 20 percent of Lebanon's citrus exports, but according to the farmers who spoke to The Daily Star, these exports are now waning. However, there is a welcome side effect to slowing exports, says Abu Ziad Hammoud, a farmer who sells citrus in the wholesale market in Sidon: The local population has been eating "better kinds of citrus". Lebanon also produces interdonato, monachello and Meyer lemons, along with other varieties, as well as mandarins, clementines, tangerines, grapefruits and pomelos.
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