Lebanon faces unprecedented food security challenges after explosion destroys main grain silo

The recent blast in the capital of Lebanon, Beirut, destroyed the Middle Eastern country’s only large grain silo and this has plunged the country into an unprecedented food crisis.

The recent explosion destroyed the 120,000-tonne capacity silo and disabled the port, which serves as Lebanon’s main entry point for food imports. This means that buyers will have to turn to smaller, privately-owned storage facilities for grain purchases, raising concerns about food supplies.

Lebanon imports nearly all of its wheat.

“There are smaller storage sites within the private sector millers because they have to store wheat before it is milled into flour. In terms of grain silos, that was the only major one,” says Maurice Saade, the representative of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Lebanon.

With banks in crisis, a collapsing currency and one of the world’s biggest debt burdens, Economy Minister Raoul Nehme has said Lebanon had “very limited” resources to deal with the disaster, which by some estimates may have cost the nation up to $15 billion.