BEIRUT: Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb met with several Lebanese officials Monday to gain support for a proposal to export agricultural goods ahead of Thursday’s Cabinet meeting.

“After confirming that Cabinet will meet for a session Thursday, I hope that this issue will be placed as the first agenda item,” the agricultural minister said after meeting Speaker Nabih Berri in his Ain al-Tineh residence.

Chehayeb said that roughly 900 tons of agricultural produce are being thrown out daily as a result of the paralysis in Cabinet.

Lebanese exporters were hit hard in April when the Nusra Front and other Islamist groups took over the Nasib crossing between Syria and Jordan. It was the last major crossing controlled by the Syrian government.

Chehayeb had called on Cabinet to help farmers export their goods by sea after land routes were closed in Syria.

This proposal would give every truck owner $2,000 per trip to help them take the marine route instead of the traditionally used land roads, and then also provide help in their return to Lebanon.

But industrialists and farmers received a large setback after some ministers refused to discuss and approve the plan to finance the maritime export of locally produced goods during the last Cabinet session.

During a meeting with Prime Minister Tammam Salam Monday, Chehayeb called for the issue of agricultural exports to be “one of the first topics discussed in Cabinet’s next session.”

“I hope that Thursday’s session will provide the additional finances to export goods by sea rather than by land,” he said.

Hitting at Free Patriotic Movement ministers who said that they would refuse any discussions in Cabinet before the issue of security appointments is resolved, Chehayeb said that “security appointments might be a priority for some but the agricultural issue is a priority for me.”