Olive production in Afrin: Challenges caused by Syria’s war

09-11-2013

 

ARA News

Afrin, Syria− As one of the main Syrian areas which produces olives and olive oil, the Kurdish city of Afrin, in northern Aleppo, is known as the city of olive. The cultivation of olive trees is deemed the basic resource for the residents of Afrin area. According to local statistics, more than 13 million olive trees exist in the area. 

Afrin produces around 180 tons of olive. However this season saw a remarkable difference due to the exceptional circumstances in Syria. The ongoing war across the country considerably affected the olive market in Afrin.

The increasingly high price of fuels −which is necessary to move the tractor to tillage the earth− was one of the factors that largely constrained the olive production. Another obstacle is the growing demands of the labours who work in the olive fields in Afrin area.

“Due to the worsening economic situation in Syria, which led to poor humanitarian situation with the increasing prices of basic supplies, the usual labour wages cannot cover the spendings of the workers, those are demanding higher payments from while to while,” a farmer in Afrin’s suburbs told ARA News

According to local sources, the needed fuel is being transported from the western city of Tartus to Afrin, which demands high costs of transportation amid the worsening economic and security circumstances in the country. 

A land owner in Afrin explained to ARA News the mounting difficulties facing the area’s olive production saying: “There is a considerable scarcity of workers, and the most of those working at the moment are from other Syrian regions with little experience. The selling prices has also dramatically dropped in comparison to the past few years. Moreover, the security vacuum and the mounting violence in the area caused extra constraints on our olive market.” 

He adds that the number of olive trees reported in Syria are estimated with 67 million trees, of which Afrin constitutes 14 million trees, some are highly productive and others less.

“Afrin area produces different kinds of olives, such as the Zayti (oily), Khelkhali  and Surani,” he said. “We have sophisticated oil presses, but the current situation prevents us from providing the expected outcomes. The area faces serious threats that may have negative consequences on olive production in the long-run.”

 

Report by: Jiwan Afrini

Source: ARA News

 

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