A farmer holds a tobacco plant in Rmeish, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)
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Among the farmers at risk is Elias Karim, whose 30,000-square-meter tobacco field in Rmaish, a village near Bint Jbeil, saw a meager harvest this summer.Raymond Jeryes, who also farms tobacco in Rmaish, estimated that there was a 65 percent loss in the village's total tobacco crop this year.One tobacco farmer in nearby Aitaroun said just 10 percent of his own village's crops survived until the summer harvest.However, the losses in Rmaish and nearby villages prompted caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri Wednesday to order a government study of the farms in south Lebanon – the region with the country's highest concentration of tobacco growing."The general trend over [recent] years is that we've had more frequent droughts and more frequent high temperatures – both in the summer and in the winter," Saade told The Daily Star.He added that his organization does not support tobacco cultivation on health grounds. For tobacco growers, the stakes are high.
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