Deir Ezzor: 110 workers lose jobs as private ginning mill shuts down

Workers inside a cotton ginning factory in al-Tawamia village, in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor - February 5, 2024 (Enab Baladi/Obadah al-Sheikh)

Workers inside a cotton ginning factory in al-Tawamia village, in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor - February 5, 2024 (Enab Baladi/Obadah al-Sheikh)

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Deir Ezzor – Obadah al-Sheikh

The absence of a market for selling ginned cotton has led to the closure of a cotton ginning factory (ginning mill) two weeks ago, and the consequent unemployment of 110 workers in Deir Ezzor, where the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) controls, as they were depending on this source to secure the needs of their families.

Nasser al-Khader (Abu Ayham), the owner of al-Barakah cotton ginning factory in al-Tawamia village, in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor, told Enab Baladi that the absence of a disposal market and the lack of support from the Autonomous Administration and local organizations are among the main challenges he faced, which were sufficient reasons for the closure.

He mentioned that the closure of unofficial crossings between areas controlled by the Autonomous Administration and the Turkey-backed Syrian Interim Government (SIG) had stopped the export movement of ginned cotton to Turkey and Europe.

The owner of the ginning factory added that he can no longer afford to buy cotton from farmers and store it, as storing goods worth thousands of dollars carries a financial risk. He pointed out that most similar projects have stopped due to the closure of crossings linking areas of control of the Autonomous Administration with areas under the control of the Interim Government.

Regarding the transfer of goods, Abu Ayham explained that they are transported to northern Syria through the Um Jaloud crossing, which connects the northeastern areas of Syria with areas controlled by the Interim Government in the countryside of Manbij, northeast of Aleppo, and from there to Turkey and Europe.

He mentioned that some goods are transported through al-Tayeh crossing, which connects areas under the control of the Autonomous Administration and areas under the control of the Syrian regime.

110 workers without work

Abu Ayham clarified that in the factory they buy a ton of cotton from farmers at amounts ranging from 450 to 500 US dollars (the dollar equals 14,650 Syrian pounds), pointing out the presence of workers from outside the village in the factory, most of whom are skilled at operating machines and presses.

Workers, numbering 110, receive daily wages ranging from 65,000 to 80,000 Syrian pounds, depending on the assigned work, and there are workers who specialize in loading by quantity, whose wages reach 35,000 pounds per ton, in addition to the transport fees ranging from 35,000 pounds to 150 dollars depending on the distance.

After ginning, the seeds are separated from the ginned cotton, then the cotton is exported at a price of 1,200 dollars per ton, while the seeds are sold to agricultural pharmacies and oil mills.

For his part, Eyad al-Sayed, who has been working in al-Barakah factory since the project started in January 2023, told Enab Baladi that work was divided into morning and evening shifts, and his wages were good compared to daily jobs in the area.

The workers’ daily wages range from 15,000 to 35,000 Syrian pounds, depending on the profession and number of work hours.

The Autonomous Administration had set the price of a ton of raw cotton at 800 US dollars (11 million and 320 thousand Syrian pounds) in its controlled areas in northeastern Syria, without announcing the purchase of the crop from farmers.

It stated that the export of ginned cotton material for 2023 is allowed outside the areas of control of the Autonomous Administration, and from all the border crossings with the provision of facilitations, according to a statement from September 2023.

Farmers criticized the process of price setting and the sale of cotton seeds by the Autonomous Administration to them, as long as it did not want to buy the crop.

 

 

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