AFRIN– Afrin canton is situated in the lower part of Mesopotamia (also known as the Fertile Crescent region) which is considered the cradle of human civilization, and known for its fertile geographic location, where soil is rich in mineral salts, and with an area stretching over 202,775 hectares.
It is surrounded by Amanos mountain ranges west of it, and Taurus Mountains north of it, and Shahba regions are east of it and Mount Simon south.
It is especially distinguished for its moderate climate for its closeness of the Mediterranean; which is cold in winter and hot in summer, with relatively heavy rainfall and sometimes snow. The moderate climate, mountainous nature, valleys, plains and the abundance of water made it perfect to grow Mediterranean crops.
Major factors are available to lead a successful agriculture like the fertile soil, suitable climate, and abundance in the surface and underground water. Afrin River penetrates the plains of the region with a length of 55 km, and the Black River irrigates the western plains amidst the mountainous heights and Amanos mountain ranges.
Crops like “grains, legumes, aromatic plants, vegetables of all kinds, maize, beet, cotton, tobacco” are grown, in addition to that trees like “olive, vine, apple, peach, apricot, cherry, almond, and citrus fruits” are also grown in Afrin.
Afrin is particularly known for olive trees, which is the most crop grown economically speaking, followed by grains.
Farmers head for their fields every year in September to plant wheat and barley in the plains of the canton.
Jendrash district is considered the most productive concernign grains due to the red clay soil rich in mineral salts in addition to the abundance in water and its involvement in the irrigation project.
Planted land with wheat has reached to 8,000 hectares, and barley has reached to 2,000 hectares in the canton, the average of the annual production approximates (16-17) thousand tons.
Farmers irrigate wheat twice or thrice a year during the growing season, beginning on the first day of spring followed by another two weeks later, as wheat spikes appear and bloom, the third stage of irrigation is done.
As to harvesting, the staff begins harvesting by the middle of May for barley, as for wheat it is collected in the middle of June.
Afrin is particularly known for planting olive trees, and takes this tree as a symbol, olive-planted areas make up 77 hectares and about 13 million trees are assessed to be planted in the canton according to Agriculture Body and olive trees are planted in plains, hills and mountainous foothills
Olive trees bloom in the beginning of April in coincidence with the fertilization of flowers, entering then the stage of fruition in May forming a circular pill.
Olive trees suffer from diseases like olive TB and farmers counter this following agricultural guidelines issued by the government agencies concerned with agriculture. these diseases appear in spring due to lack of soil cultivation and leaving remains of plants.
An excellent quality oil is derived from Afrini olive trees, ranking 1st in 2009 in production and quality over syria. Provincial production of olive oil was about 150-200 thousand in the fruitful years, while approximately 75 thousand tons in other years. Oil is used in the medical fields, cooking and pharmacy.
Citrus and fruitful trees
Citrus trees are intensively planted in Shia district roughly estimated to reach 5,000 trees, they are also planted in household gardens in the villages and towns of the canton, including “lemon, orange, grapefruit, pomegranate” trees achieving some sort of self-sufficiency.
Fruit trees are planted through the canton and its districts, but particularly abundant in Shirawa district due to availability of water, and its involvement in the irrigation project.
Approximate numbers of fruit trees in the canton
640 pomegranate trees, 220 thousand vine trees, 74 thousand apple trees, 22 thousand peach trees, 22 thousand apricot trees and 22 thousand almond trees.
Different kinds of legumes are grown in the canton including” lentils, beans and cicer”, according to statistics of the Agriculture Body land planted with legumes are about 900 hectares.
While land planted with aromatic plants like” sesame, cumin, black seed, and coriander” are relatively meeting the needs of the canton making up 300 hectares.
As for local vegetables, planting is ongoing over the year, and divided into two categories; leafy vegetables including “Lettuce, Swiss chard, spinach, radish, parsley, mint, and cress” are planted in late September, and the rest of the types of vegetables, which include “potato, pepper, tomato, cucurbits ” are sown in early April and production process continues until the beginning of autumn.
Preparation: Nourhat Hasan
Supervision and photos: Seydo Ibo