• Tartous

  • Sunday, December 31, 2023 at 3:21 AM
    Last Update : Sunday, December 31, 2023 at 3:21 AM

Farmers in Syria’s Tartus Cultivate Bananas In Hopes of Exporting Crops

(AWP) - Farmers in the Syrian coastal governorate of Tartus have recently turned to banana cultivation due to the low costs involved.

As opposed to traditional crops like tomatoes, banana cultivation does not require the increasingly expensive fertilisers, and the impressive results have prompted farmers to plan to export their banana crops.

Banana trees are characterised by high productivity, and have become a major source of livelihood for many families in the Syrian coastal region.

According to the Tartus Agriculture Directorate, the area cultivated during the current season amounted to 1775 dunums of protected agriculture and 998 dunums of open cultivation.

"People have resorted to growing bananas because they are easy to cultivate, and the cost is not great. Growing any other crop costs more than bananas. Other crops need fertiliser, which is expensive and scarce on the market. We hope for more support for this cultivation, and to turn it into a strategic crop, as it requires nothing but irrigation,” said Eissa Ahmed, a Syrian farmer.

Bananas are tropical plants that are suitable for high heat, and they tolerate high ground humidity.

According to farmer Ali Mahmoud, banana cultivation in Tartus began in approximately 2016, due to its low costs and rewarding harvests.

"Many farmers have turned to growing bananas instead of greenhouse crops, the costs of which have become very high, exceeding the farmers’ means. The prices of traditional crop seeds are high, and the price of plastic for greenhouses has also increased, in addition to fuel and fertiliser. As for bananas, they do not need any care. We just place the plant in the ground, water it and do some pruning. We hope that bananas will become an export crop,“ Mahmoud said.

Syrian banana merchant Elias Dawoud said that the crop’s generous production is encouraging more farmers to cultivate it; he adds that if Syrian farmers continue planting bananas with such high rates "we will have self-sufficiency. Today, it is replacing the Lebanese banana".

Different varieties of bananas are grown in Tartus, such as Spanish and Rihawi, and production is expected to spread on a larger scale with the increase in farmers’ experience, as well as the governorate’s humid environment and quality of soil.