Seed and plowing prices reduce areas of broad beans in Ras al-Ain
Enab Baladi – Ras al-Ain
Malek al-Rais, a farmer in Ras al-Ain city in northwest al-Hasakah, decided to cultivate 30 dunams of broad beans this year, but he faced difficulties in securing seeds, in addition to the high cost of plowing.
The farmer explained to Enab Baladi that the price per ton of broad bean seeds reached $900 this year, and the cost of plowing increased to $15 per dunam (each dollar is equivalent to 14,400 Syrian pounds).
He added that the increase in seed and plowing prices led some farmers he knows to abandon cultivating broad beans this year, expressing his frustration at the Syrian Interim Government (SIG) not providing any support to farmers, in addition to labor shortages at the beginning of the planting season.
On his part, farmer Saddam Nayyef said that he, along with many farmers, suffered from difficulties in obtaining broad bean seeds, as they were often not available at the beginning of the planting season, which starts from mid-November to the first week of December. He pointed out that this time period is “sensitive” and affects the crop production.
He also told Enab Baladi that he could not find any workers to cultivate his 70-dunam land of broad beans this year due to the scarcity of workers at the beginning of the agricultural seasons and the migration of a large number of them to Turkey.
The wage for agricultural workers does not exceed two dollars per day (equivalent to 30,000 Syrian pounds or 57 Turkish liras).
Excellent manure crop
Agricultural Engineer Bashar Yahya said that cultivating broad beans in the Ras al-Ain area faces several challenges, the most important of which are the shortage of labor and the high costs of fuel for land preparation and plowing.
He explained that one dunam of broad beans requires eight to ten kilograms of seeds, land plowing, adding organic fertilizers, planning, and irrigation.
Yahya emphasized that broad beans are an excellent manure crop for the soil and are essential for agricultural land because of their high content of nitrogen fertilizers.
The price of diesel (imported from Turkey) is 40 Turkish liras per liter, while organic fertilizer is sold for $550 per ton.
Increasing demand raises prices
Omar Hamoud, the head of the Agriculture Office in Ras al-Ain, told Enab Baladi that the area of land cultivated with broad beans this year reached 30,000 dunams, which is less compared to last year when it reached 40,000 dunams.
Hamoud explained that the increase in the price of broad bean seeds is due to an increase in demand from farmers and the exploitation of some merchants who raised the price significantly. He also pointed out that the increase in fuel prices also contributed to increasing costs for farmers.
He pointed out that the Directorate of Agriculture in Ras al-Ain has allocated agricultural machinery for land plowing at cost price, in addition to providing agricultural advice and regularly inspecting the crops.
Traditional crops also face difficulties
The cultivation of legumes and aromatic plants has been active in the past years in the Ras al-Ain region due to the high prices of these crops and their ease of marketing, as well as the difficulties faced by farmers in traditional crops such as wheat and cotton. This pushed them to search for other options, including cumin.
Four months ago, after the wheat harvesting season in Ras al-Ain, farmers complained about the accumulation of their crops, as they only received small quantities from the Turkey-backed Interim Government. This made them vulnerable to monopolization and control by merchants due to the absence of suitable storage places and difficulties in maintaining the quality of the crop, which leads to its spoilage.
The Interim Government has set the purchase price of one ton of hard wheat of the first grade at $330, down from $480 last year.
However, the Interim Government has not announced its desire to purchase the cotton crop, and the crop was monopolized by merchants, with the price per ton ranging between $500 and $550, while its price last year ranged between $750 and $800.
Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad are located along the Turkish border and are controlled by the Syrian National Army, supported by Turkey, while they are surrounded by front lines with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and the Turkish border is the only outlet to the outside world.
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