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With little effort and low cost… Internally displaced persons in Idlib resort to farming between tents

Saplings planted between the tents in Kafr Lusin in northern Idlib countryside - September 2020 (Enab Baladi)

Saplings planted between the tents in Kafr Lusin in northern Idlib countryside - September 2020 (Enab Baladi)

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Enab Baladi – Idlib

Ahmed picked some ripe tomatoes and peppers eagerly from between the small saplings, for such vegetables with “special taste” cannot be found in the markets.

Ahmed al-Saloum carried the farming activity with him from Kafr Nubul city from which he was displaced at the beginning of this year, to Barisha village, north of Idlib, taking care of the vegetables’ saplings and flowers surrounding his tent.

The number of plant nurseries between tents has increased significantly in recent months, with residents interested in getting more than the delicious taste of vegetable production and beautiful landscape with little costs.

How is farming done in the IDPs camps?

Farming in the internally displaced people’s (IDPs) camps differs from the groves, as some displaced people told Enab Baladi.

They said, farming in the IDPs camps depends on plant nurseries and sharing saplings between the camp’s inhabitants.

According to al-Saloum, plants distributed between the tents provide “beautiful” scenery.

Al-Saloum added to Enab Baladi that he is assured of the vegetables’ cleanness and quality when he plants them.

The plant nurseries require little care without pesticides and fertilizers to improve production, which costs only the price of the seeds.

This cheap cost allowed Amina al-Hassan, who lives with her family of 10, to reduce 50 percent of the daily food allowance for summer production and three-quarters of their need for winter vegetables.

Al-Hassan told Enab Baladi that her husband’s inability to find work in the area, after they had been displaced from the eastern countryside of al-Maarra to “Killi” camp, made it a necessary option to rely on agriculture to make a living.

The small area, which is not more than 20 square meters per family, was not an obstacle to agriculture, as displaced people grew plants for benefits other than obtaining food, such as the thermal isolation of tents with the pumpkin’s broad leaves that grow upward blocking the sunlight.

A practical alternative to shopping

Ahmed al-Zahra depends on agriculture to eliminate the cost of buying “high priced” vegetables, according to what he said to Enab Baladi.

Al-Zahra pointed out that the soaring prices causes continuance pressure on displaced people.

He added, today, the mint bundle is sold at the price of two Turkish liras (TL = 0.254 USD), and the same price applies to eggplant.

One kilo of tomatoes costs one and a half (TL = 0.191 USD), while the simplest meal of vegetables costs ten (TL = 1.274 USD), al-Zahra said.

UN agencies estimated in a report on food security in Syria, issued on 23 September that 4.3 million people are in need of food security and livelihoods support in northwest Syria.

Al-Zahra did not wait for relief aid to secure his family’s needs; he started growing vegetables’ saplings near his tent in “Qah” camp.

He said to Enab Baladi, “there have been days when we did not have money to buy our food, and though the tent’s space was small, it was enough to grow our need of vegetables.”

 

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