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Some 1.135 Mln. Tons of Citrus Production Expected

DAMASCUS, (ST) - Director of the Citrus Bureau at the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, eng. Suhail Hamdan, underlined that the expected production of citrus this year could exceed 1.135 million tons , which increases the production of the past year about 130 thousand tons .

The total citrus production for the last year season estimated at one million tons, 887 thousand tons in Lattakia, 205 thousand tons in Tartous and 12 thousand tons in the rest of the areas of Homs , Idlib, the Ghab Plain, Deir ez-Zour and Damascus.

Eng. Hamdan noted that more than 50 thousand families in Syria depend on the cultivation of citrus fruits as a source of income in addition to thousands of people who help them in various service operations and harvesting , transportation and marketing

"The economic importance of citrus, that their cultivation based in the coastal region mainly, constitutes about 53 percent of irrigated crops in Tartous and about 91 percent in Latakia, pointing out that Syrian citrus also is characterized by taste and distinctive smell as a result of climatic conditions available in the region," Eng. Hamdan clarified.

It is noteworthy that the number of trees planted in Syria amounts to 14 million including 8 million trees of orange, 5.2 million trees of lemon tree and the rest is of different sorts of citrus.

Sh. Kh.

Some 950.000 tons of olives production this Season


DAMASCUS, (ST)- The Director of the Olives Bureau at the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, Dr. Muhannad Malandi,  revealed about a plan that is currently studied especially the government support , which will be presented in the future for farmers , production  or production process requirements.

"Since the beginning of the year to present, some 20 thousand tons of olive oil were exported through the border crossings, pointing out that the estimates of the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform of the country's production of olive fruit is about 950 thousand tons during the current agricultural season , of which 160 thousand tons of olive oil and 125 thousand tons of table olive," Dr. Malandi stated..

"The number of olive trees in Syria , according to the latest statistics, amounted to 107 million trees , including 82 million fruit trees planted on an estimated area of 700 thousand hectares, pointing out that the price of one kilo each gram of olive oil ranges nearly between 400 and 450 pounds," he added.

Dr. Malandi indicated to the need to regulate trade in oil and olives and dealing all the difficulties that face this sector and the establishment of competent associations in planting olive and the establishment of specialized workshops in pruning and grafting according to the technical and scientific bases, activating programs of biological control of olive fruit fly, paying attention to the sector of table olives manufacturing especially in the rural areas and the use of waste of pruning trees in the production of fodder for livestock.

It is noteworthy that Syria occupies the fourth place globally and the first Arab production, which is more than one million tons of fruits produces, 175 thousand tons of olive oil of the total area estimated at 696 thousand hectares and the average per capita consumption of olive oil in Syria varies annually between 5 and 6 kilos. Therefore there is a surplus of oil ranges annually between 40 and 50 tons. The Syrian extra virgin olive oil has international standards as it is free from chemical solvents and it is not mixed with other oils.

Hence, the importance of the Syrian olive comes from the fact that it contains a high percentage of oleic acid enjoys effectively relatively high against oxidation compared to other vegetable oils where studies indicated that the effect of poly-phenols in virgin olive oil on cancer cells is great and proved efficiency restraining the growth of breast cancer cells.

SH. Kh.

Small Enterprises Attract Government Attention


 (ST)- Small and medium-sized enterprises have recently acquired the government's attention over the past years through a number of measures, notably the establishment of Enterprises Development Body and supporting its projects by funding as well as rural development projects and the establishment of micro-finance, etc., but this interest has declined recently in spite of its necessity in the current crisis in which we live, which led to the exit of a large number of public and private economic establishments of production.

 What opens the door for small and medium-sized enterprises to be a substitute for that, at least in the current phase, which requires self-reliance of the available potentials, especially agricultural ones, which can be built upon as an axis for small projects to evolve later into the medium industries stage.

The careful consideration of these projects reveals the big advantages that can achieve a benefit of the national economy including  the investment of resources,  utilization of manpower, increasing productivity which doesn't require a big capital and the resulting employment opportunities, both packing, packaging, marketing and more important is the provision of goods at cheap prices to replace imported ones.  

This urges the government to provide the necessary funding and simplifying of procedures, drawing a map of the projects of the most important, the assistance in the studies of economic feasibility, commitment of the public bodies in marketing the production of projects at encouraging prices, increasing incentives for the most profitable projects and other of encouraging advantages and the preparation of a legislative structure that form the wide frame for these projects.

The experiences of other countries in small and medium-sized enterprises and the success in the transition to giant companies in different types of industries naturally emphasizes their importance as an input to overcome the crisis and achieve economic development within the available resources.

Sharif al –Khatib 

Director of Agricultural Investment:There Is a Need to Export Greater Quantity of Citrus


DAMASCUS, (ST) - Director of the Agricultural Economy and Investment at the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, Dr. Majd Ayoub, has underlined that there is an urgent need to export the largest possible quantity of citrus.

"It is expected that the production of the current season to exceed of 1.135 million tons, which is greater than the production of previous years and the largest percentage of production is orange," he added.

Dr. Ayoub said in a statement that the decision of the Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade regarding stopping the export of some sorts of vegetables does not include citrus or any other type of fruit that the government has not prevented the export of citrus this year.

"During a qualitative meeting held recently to study the reality of production and marketing of citrus for the season 2013-2014 in the presence of the relevant authorities, it was agreed that General Establishment of Storage, and Marketing to sale the largest possible amount of production, including at least 150 thousand tons," Dr. Ayoub said. 

"The Central Association for Marketing Agricultural Products affiliated to the General Federation of Peasants is working on marketing a part of the production. The representative of Supporting Exports Association suggested to back the process of exporting citrus among the Syrian products," he clarified.

"The cultivation of citrus in Syria has become one of the important economic crops whereas a large number of residents of the Syrian coast and a number of households in some other governorates work as farmers in agriculture and its harvest in addition to the benefit of the owners of means of transport , traders, exporters and owners of manufacturing containers." Dr. Ayoub noted.

"The number of trees planted in Syria is about 14 million trees , including 8 million trees of orange and 2.5 million trees of lemon and the rest of different citrus, " Ayoub said according to statistics provided to the Ministry of Agriculture for the year 2011.

Syria is no.3 citrus producer in the Arab world after Morocco and Egypt and the seventeenth in the world for the production of citrus fruit which is characterized by cleanly from diseases and insects and the remaining impact of pesticides and toxic substances after the application of integrated pest management style and the adoption of a biological control method.

Sharif al Khatib

Agricultural Productivity Plan for Next Season Discussed


(ST)- Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform has recently approved three new determinatives, the first is to conduct a review and modify (if necessary) twice during the agricultural seasons, the second is to insert organic farming
for the first time in an area estimated at 33,000 hectares distributed at the country level, and the third is to emphasize on preservative agriculture for the second season (25 thousand hectares in Hasakah governorate and 1,300 hectares in Hama governorate).

The special meeting to discuss the agricultural productivity plan for the next season which was chaired by the Minister of Agriculture, Ahmed Qadri, and attended by Minister of Water Resources, Dr. Bassam Hanna, Chairman of the General Federation of Peasants, Head of the Federation of Chambers of Agriculture, General Manager of Agricultural Cooperative Bank, Ministries of Industry and Internal trade and Consumer Protection.

 During the meeting, the conferees stressed on supporting agricultural sector  to enhance its competitiveness and contribute to its development, ensuring food security, the integration of the agricultural sector with other sectors, the emphasis on the application of the laws that protect the natural resources of agricultural including land, water, the desert and forestry, the re-introduction of incentives in productive projects in order to achieve raise work efficiency, identifying economic priorities for producing agricultural crops and ensuring production requirements through the public and private sector in the quantities and the appropriate times.

They also underlined the need  of searching for alternatives of high economic revenues, developing scientific agricultural research extension, education, rehabilitation and resettlement of modern technologies, increasing the investments of private sector in irrigation sector and accelerating the implementation of irrigation projects, encouraging the establishment of marketing companies and institutions in all sectors to increase marketing opportunities, and the trend towards economic agriculture and developing programs for economic alternatives, focusing on services that support the production and promotion of agricultural research to do the necessary researches , and the need to pay more attention to livestock production and achieving  greater importance and integration in vegetable production.

Returning to the draft of agricultural productivity plan (which will be submitted to the Cabinet), figures of the Ministry of Agriculture have indicated that the plan for the wheat crop during the season (2013/ 2014) reached 4,000,809 tons, 1,000,622 tons of barley, 1,000,307 tons of sugar beet, 772 324 tons of cotton, 34204 tons of tobacco, increasing the area of the potato crop to meet the needs of growing population, 1,000,185 tons of olive, 430,000 tons of vine, 400,000 tons of apples, 78,000 tons of pistachios, 33,000 tons of pears, 1,000,268 tons of citrus, 595,000 tons of tomatoes, and 54,000 tons of cucumber.

Sharif al Khatib.