Converting Agricultural Food products for Functional Foods…

Opportunity for Economic Growth

 DAMASCUS, (ST) - Head of Trade Policies Department at the National Center for Agricultural Policy in the Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, Eng. Mahmoud Babilly, said that the center prepared a work paper on the prospects of functional food production in Syria and exporting it  to the world market.

"Functional food is the food that can provide health benefits as well as its food benefits and this type of food could be an important business opportunity provided by the agriculture sector to contribute to the economic growth of Syria. Agricultural activities associated with preparing functional food could activate agricultural development, especially after working on the rehabilitation of some wild plant species and using them to be exported," Eng. Babilly clarified.

Eng. Babilly added in a statement that the paper monitors the many functional advantages that our local agricultural products enjoy, it also refers to the possibility of converting some of the agri-food products to functional food after treatment. The paper also presents deliberated proposals to market these products in the Russian market.

The paper recommends studying the possibility of export of functional foods that benefit health heart , treating problems of obesity to Russian markets and studying the possibility of exporting Syrian dairy after being processed as functional foods for this market.

Finally, The paper recommends benefit from the free trade agreements signed with friendly countries to promote the trade of functional food.

Eng. Babilly sees that functional food could be an opportunity for economic growth of many developing countries, particularly those which enjoy biodiversity and accumulated traditional knowledge on the health effects of species of local plants as can for many developing countries could compete in the production of functional food because of labor low costs in comparison to developed countries In addition to the economic opportunities arising from the production of a variety of functional foods and high-value.

 It is worth mentioning that the centre circulated this paper to concerned bodies, Development and Promotion of Syrian Exports  Authority, International Cooperation and Planning Authority, the Ministry of Industry and others for information and take advantage of them.

Sh. Kh.


Estimates of 63.000 Tons of Olive Production in Lattakia

Lattakia, (ST)-  Director of Lattakia Agriculture Directorate, Munzir Kheir Beik, estimated olive production expected this season in the governorate at 63,000 tons, including 15,000 tons for oil extraction.

Mr. Kheir Beik said in a statement that olive production in the last season was 170,000 tons of olives, 40,000 tons of which were for oil extraction.

He indicated that the Lattakia production of olives makes 17 % of Syria's production, with the number of olive trees in Lattakia covering 9 % of the total number of olive trees planted across the country, according to statistics in 2011.

He put the exact number of olive trees planted in Lattakia at 10,665 covering an area of 49,504 hectares.

Olive oil prices rose dramatically recently as they amounted to SP 10-15 per 16 liter, compared to SP 2500-3500 last year.

Head of Secretariat at the Agriculture Directorate, Zuheir Akkari, attributed the rise in oil price to the fact that some dealers have been buying oil from citizens in order to either export it or store it and then sell it at higher prices.

He also added that the oil stored in Aleppo and Idleb provinces has been smuggled to Turkey, which led to a high export rate of the oil amounts in the coastal and other governorates.

Sh. Kh.

Plans to Reschedule Bank Loans, Taxes Imposed on Industrial, Commercial Establishments

DAMASCUS, (ST)- The Economic Committee, chaired by the Council of Ministers, recently examined at an extraordinary meeting the formation of technical committees to consider the rescheduling of bank loans, taxes, fees and bills imposed on stumbling industrial and commercial establishments. Representatives from banks, chambers of commerce, industry, General Federations of Farmers and Artisans attended the meeting.

Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Dr. Qadri Jamil, underlined importance of formation the committees to reschedule the repayment of bank loans and operating the factories and ceased touristic installations in safe areas, reconsider the taxes, fees and the problems of craftsmen and ensure warehouses in different areas to guarantee storage of the basic needs to meet the needs of the market.

"Formation of the committees and presenting them to Cabinet for approval will be within a week to begin its work early next week. Activating agricultural and industrial production, adjusting the prices and the exchange rate is one of the priorities to deal with the consequences of the crisis on the citizen and the national economy," Dr. Jamil noted.

"It has been communicated with the largest number of economic activities to find solutions to this crisis and to deal with the slowdown in agricultural and industrial production and the economic cycle development in general," Dr. Jamil  pointed out.

"To reschedule loans and fees guarantees preserving the rights of the State in parallel with the help of those who are unable to repay loans, stressing the distinction between the defaults before and after the crisis, through the adoption of recommendations of the technical committees formed for this purpose," Dr. Jamil  clarified.

For his part, the Minister of Industry, Dr. Adnan al Sekhni, confirmed the importance of activating the decrees and laws concerning loans and setting up committees to combine the ministries and departments concerned to ensure their implementation so as to contribute to help workers in the economic sector and the creation of mechanisms for the return of work and operating of facilities and providing them with necessary help in addition to postpone taxes and fees.

"Targeting the factors of the economy and its components requires the integration of work between the concerned bodies in economic affairs to ensure the return of the production cycle according to conditions and controls in line with the current circumstances," Dr. al –Sekhni added.

 Chairman of the Federation of Syrian Chambers of Commerce, Mohamed Ghassan al -Qalla', pointed out to the importance of rescheduling taxes and fees in line with the economic situation being experienced by Syria and the size of the attacks suffered by the enterprises and factories.

For his part, chairman of the Federation of Chambers of Industry, Fares al -Shihabi, called for returning the process of re -installment with less benefits and extending  the repayment period and making a partnership with the state in some stumbling economic facilities through the purchase of a ratio to help the remaining ones to continue to work. 

Mr. al - Shihabi clarified  the importance of finding alternative industrial areas, transferring  industrial installations to these areas, providing special facilities to industrialists wishing to transfer their projects and businesses to the new industrial free zones and not subjecting them  to the laws of customs, stressing that the transferring of these installations to safe areas contributes significantly to meet the needs of the market as small and medium companies form 90 percent of economic powers. 

Chairman of the Federation of Chambers of Tourism, Rami Martini, called for dealing seriously with the loss that hit the tourism sector as the biggest victim result of the crisis, pointing to the importance of rescheduling loans of the owners of tourist facilities out of work, and the formation of committees comprising of engineers and representatives from the bans and tourism to reassess tourist facilities.

Sharif al –Khatib

Some SP 300 Million Free Zones Revenues

DAMASCUS, (ST)- Revenues of free zones reached more than 300 million Syrian Pounds during the first half of the current year as the invested total capital reached 49 billion SP, while the number of investors reached 3100 and about 1155 work contracts.

Director General of the General Establishment for Free Zones, Mohammed Katkout, said that the number of foreign companies that are investing in the area reached 78 with a capital up to 7 billion SP, while the number of workers in the investment facilities reached 6811 workers.

Mr. Katkout stated in a statement that the investment map has been adopted for the branches of the institution including the available spaces in the branches and could be put in investment and investment activities to be established, so they can be found on the website of the institution.

Mr. Katkout revealed that a number of administrative contracts were signed with the General Establishment for Storage and Marketing in Lattakia in order to store food. Currently coordination is conducted with the branches of the institution and the concerned authorities to carry out maintenance and repair of some branches of the institution which were exposed to acts of sabotage in addition to the establishment of training courses for a number of workers in the institution in the field of organizing contracts and marketing.

 He pointed out that it has been communicated to the Union of Arab Exporters to the draft protocol of cooperation in the framework of preparations for final signature.

Mr. Katkout said that the institution  continues to provide services to investors of facilities and exemptions that will maintain these facilities and their work and provide the right conditions for business and investment.

Sharif  Al -Khatib

Forecast production of 78.000 tons of olives in Homs

HOMS(ST) - Department of Agriculture in Homs estimated olive production at 78 285 thousand tons during the current planting season.

Chairman of the Statistics Department at the Directorate, eng. Ehsan al –Tahsh,  said in a statement that the total area planted with olives in all areas of the governorate amounted to 948 647 thousand acres.

He  pointed out that the number of olive trees planted in Homs reaches 13.393 million, the number of productive trees is 8.563 million, while the number of irrigated trees is 1.982 million trees, whereas the productive trees are 1.826.1 million.

Chairman of the Department of Statistics referred to the overwhelming response by farmers to plant olive seedlings due to its economic importance in improving the income, especially after the growing demand for olive oil locally and abroad because of its many uses.

It is noteworthy that the olive cultivation spreads over the entire area in Homs and al -Mokharram area occupies the first place in the at the level of the governorate because of the nature of its soil.

SH. Kh.