Currently (as of January 2016), the amount of food available in the local market has increased and is able to cope with the influx of over one million refugees from Syria. There are many food suppliers throughout Lebanon, in a competitive market.
Meat, fruit, vegetables, and dairy products are locally produced and available in markets across the country. Wheat is milled locally and subsidized by the Government. Lebanon has the ability to scale up production if required, and also has large reserve food stocks. The ability to scale up will depend on import capacity (both for food items as well as raw material for manufacturing). Some food suppliers are also traders and import food items regularly. Items such as biscuits or canned foods are imported mostly from Europe, Turkey, and China. The majority of food supplies enter the country via Beirut Port. Canned beans are available locally (the raw beans are imported; however the processing and manufacturing takes place in Lebanon). Canned fish is 100% imported (not manufactured locally). Grains, sunflower oil etc, are imported mostly from Australia, Sudan, and Russia. Exotic fruits not found locally are imported but the majority (70%) are produced in the country. Similarly some dairy products (e.g. specific types of cheese) are imported. There is one major sugar refinery operating in Shakka, with smaller refineries also available. Wheat milling is done in Lebanon and salt refineries are present. Vegetable oil is mostly imported. Regarding Ready to Eat (RTE) meals, local Lebanese meals can be found in most markets (cooked and frozen) requiring heating only. However, other RTEs need to be imported. For most beans (e.g. fava beans), these are imported into the country in bulk as grains. Subsequently they are washed, cooked, processed (with additives, spices etc), and canned locally. A small amount of canned beans are also imported (foreign brands). For canned green beans, these are grown and manufactured locally.
In Lebanon, food parcels are purchased by humanitarian organizations through local contractors, who in turn, deal with local suppliers. E-card systems have proven to be the most efficient means of delivering food assistance to vulnerable groups inside Lebanon. In general, humanitarian activities in Lebanon are supplied through an e-card or ATM system due to the well-developed infrastructure in the country which can support such systems (i.e. financial service providers and bank establishments). In addition, there are significant numbers of high quality supermarkets and groceries throughout the country which can support food assistance requirements directly, thus making procurement of food items outside of Lebanon by humanitarian organizations mostly unnecessary (as of March 2015)
Additional information can be located from sources which are regularly maintained and reflect current facts and figures. For more specific and detailed overviews of food availability and market conditions, please consult the following source:
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