Although Ms Hobeika’s zucchini plants have indulged in so enthusiastically that she will have enough to store or freeze for the winter, she too cannot get the government water.
Then there is the rise in the price of imported dried cranberries with which she serves her goat cheese by hand; power outages that make refrigeration a daily strain; and the extremely fluctuating exchange rate, which forced it to raise prices three times.
Everything seemed beatable until the explosion, which seemed to be the result of government incompetence and neglect. Desperate after the explosion, Ms. Hobeika was considering leaving Lebanon.
“I just thought I was successful. I tried, ”she says. “But, enough – it’s not a life. We just survive, we don’t live. And I no longer see a future for my son here.
Returning to the land last cultivated by their grandparents, Mr. Abi Shaker, Ms. Hobeika and other newly stricken farmers are also reversing, to a small extent, Lebanon’s decades-long shift from agriculture to agriculture. banking, tourism and services.
For decades, the decline of agriculture did not matter to consumers; the country could afford to import 80 percent of its food. But this external dependence is no longer sustainable when hyperinflation lowers wages.
Although Lebanon grows a lot of fruits and vegetables, it lacks the land and technology to produce enough wheat and other staple crops for domestic consumption. Yet, according to experts, it could import less and export more specialized items.