BEIRUT: Public health and the sustainable availability of food were of vital importance, Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb said at a meeting with the Union of Food Industries Tuesday.
Chehayeb stressed that “food security and the citizen’s interest and health should come above all else, especially since we are all – officials, farmers, industrialists and traders – interested in public health and food security.”
He said the ministry refused to permit any kind of injustice regarding food production and did not want to see the consumer’s health damaged in any way.
Chehayeb noted the “importance of the food industry to the national economy and its development, especially since it accounts for an important part of the local agricultural production.”
Chehayeb also stressed the significance of the ministry’s laboratories, expressing readiness to “study the just demands of the unions in the context of ensuring the continuance of the laboratories’ work and their development and maintaining dependence on them to serve the interests of the citizen and his health in addition to the interest of the source and the Lebanese farmer.”
The minister also met with the Lebanese Association for Vine and Wine, saying the ministry’s relationship with the association was promising in terms of increasing production and providing employment opportunities in the sector.
Chehayeb also announced the preparation of the Lebanese Wine Day in Berlin on May 5, 2015. He said the ministry had asked Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil to support the project to promote local wine, olive oil, honey and other products.
The International Organization of Vine and Wine took a special interest in the Lebanese wine sector, he said, and the ministry is preparing to hold another conference in Lebanon in October.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 19, 2014, on page 4.