Farmers in the town of al-Shaddadi, 60 km southern Hasakah, in north-eastern Syria, complain that the distribution of fuel in order to irrigate the agricultural crops has been delayed, especially with the entry of winter season. Farmers said that there are more than 100,000 dunums of agricultural lands are in need of irrigation and watering, in order to ensure a fruitful agricultural season this year.
Farmer Riyad al-Ali told North-Press that he owns 300 dunums of agricultural land, on al-Khabur River where he granted a license for this land, adding: “Since the beginning of the agricultural season, we as farmers have been visiting the Directorate of Agriculture in al-Shaddadi and the Hydrocarbons Committee (SADCOP), but there was no distribution of fuel, which is essential for the agriculture.”
Al-Ali added: "Officials must take responsibility for agriculture and farmers, and this problem must be resolved as soon as possible because the agricultural season has started months ago, and the crop hasn't been provided with a single drop of water.”
While farmer Hassan al-Saleh said: "I own 6 irrigation projects licensed legally, and we are in the first quarter of winter season; however, we have not been provided with fuel for the agricultural lands yet.”
Al-Saleh explained that a portion of fuel for tractors was distributed, but that they were not in sufficient quantity to meet the needs of the farmers, as they had to buy fuel from the black market, at a price of 35 thousand Syrian pounds, per barrel. He added that even if the quantity of fuel is distributed, it will be insufficient because they will distribute a quantity of 15 liters per dunum, and this quantity is not sufficient to meet the needs of the farmer. He explained: "The land with an area of 100 dunum needs 15 barrels, and this is a large amount compared to the amount that will be distributed, which amounts to 6 barrels and represents a great burden on the farmer.”
Abdul Majeed Obaid, the official of the Agricultural Directorate in al-Shaddadi, said that they have 1,440 agricultural licenses distributed over the lands of al-Shaddadi, and they have been receiving several complaints from the farmers for the non-distribution of fuel until this moment due to the current circumstances in the region. He added: "We also submitted the complaint to the concerned authorities, and that in the next few days we will distribute the allocated amount of 15 litres per dunum.”
Amid the expectations of the distribution of fuel and fears of delaying, concerns are continuous about the future of the agriculture situation in the region, especially after the fires that devoured hundreds of thousands of agricultural dunums in different areas in north-eastern Syria.